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Walt Stanchfield 

Edited by Don Hahn 



Walt Stanchfield 

Edited by Don Hahn 

For nearly fhirly years, the artists that passed througb fhe gates of Disney Animation, and even non-artists like 
myself, were influenced by the craft, skill, wisdom, writings and sketches of Walt Stanchfield. 

— Roy Disney 

Walt was a kind of Mark Twain for us at Disney. He aiways taugbt witb bumor and skill. You learned to see the 
World througb bis eyes. I remember bim one day encouraging us to leap into our drawings witb boidness and 
confidence, "Don't be afraid to make a mistake. We ail bave 10,000 bad drawings in us so the sooner you get 
them out the better!" Sitting in Walt's class was as mucb a psycbology course as it was a drawing class. One 
couidn't help walk away witb your mind and soûl a little more open than wben you entered. 

— Glen Keane, Walt Disney Animation Studios 

Walt Stancbfield's classes and writings were little distillations of the man; quirky, strongly stated in a génial voice, 
and brimming witb a lifetime of sbarp observations about story telling and graphie communication. Wbetber be 
drew witb a bail point pen or painted witb a brush dipped in bis coffee cup, be got to tbe essence of tbings and 
was eager to sbare wbat be learned witb bis eager disciples, myself among tbem. He was grizzled and he was 
great and proof that tbere was more tban one Walt at tbe Disney Studio tbat could inspire a légion of artists. 

—John Musker, Walt Disney Animation Studios 

Walt Stanchfield was one of Disney Animatlon's national treasures. His classes and notes bave inspired countless 
animation artists, and bis approach to drawing of caricature over reality, feeling over rote accuracy, and com¬ 
munication over photographie reproduction gets to tbe beart of wbat great animation is ail about. Huzzab to Don 
Habn for putting it ail togetber for us! 

— Eric Goldberg, Walt Disney Animation Studios 

During tbe Animation Renaissance of tbe 1990s, one of tbe Walt Disney Studios best kept secrets was Walt 
Stanchfield. Once a week after work, tbis aged but agile figure jumped from drawing board to drawing board, 
patiently teaching us tbe principles bebind tbe bigb baroque style of Walt Disney Animation drawing. Being in a 
room witb Walt made you feel wbat it must bave been like to bave been taugbt by Don Grabam. Having one of 
your life drawings be good enough to be reproduced in one of bis little bomemade weekiy bulletins was akin to 
getting a Distinguisbed Service medal! Senior animators vied witb trainees for that distinction. 

—Tom Sito, Animator/Filmmaker/Author of Drawing The Line: The Untold Story of 

fhe Animation Unions from Bosko to Barf Simpson 

Tbis exciting collection of master classes by tbe great teacber Walt Stanchfield is destined to become a classic on 
tbe order of Kimon Nicolaides' exploration of tbe drawing process. Stanchfield (1919-2000) inspired several 
générations of Disney animators and tbose of us outside tbe studio fortunate enough to bappen upon dog-eared 
copies of his conversational notes, wbicb we passed around like Leonardo's Codex Leicester. Stanchfield beauti- 
fully communicates tbe essence and joy of expressing ideas througb tbe graphie line and accumulating a visual 
vocabulary. Drawn to Life is a treasure trove of cogent, valuable information for students, teachers and anyone 
wbo loves to draw. 

-John Canemaker, NYU professor and Academy Award(S)-winning animation fiimmaker 

Walt Stanchfield, in bis own unique way, taugbt so many of us about drawing, caricature, motion, acting, and ani¬ 
mation. Most important to me was bow Walt made you appiy wbat you bad observed in his life drawing class to 
your animation. Disney Animation is based on real life, and in tbat regard Walt Stancbfield's pbilosophy ecboed 
Walt Disney's: "We cannot caricature and animate anytbing convincingly until we study tbe real thing first. " 

—Andréas Déjà, Walt Disney Animation Studios 

Walt Stancbfield's renewed emphasis on draftsmanship at tbe Disney Studios transformed tbe seemingly mori- 
bund art of animation. His students were part of a renaissance witb The Little Mermaid and Who Framed Roger 
Rabbit, a renaissance tbat continues witb films ranging from The Iron Giant to Lilo and Stitch to Wall-E. 

—Charles Solomon, Animation Historian 





Walt Stanchfield 

Edited by Don Hahn 



Focal Press is an imprint of Elsevier 

Focal Press is an imprint of Eisevier 

30 Corporate Drive, Suite 400, Burlington, MA 01803, USA 
Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford 0X2 8DP, UK 

Copyright © 2009, Dee Stanchfield. Published by Eisevier Inc. Ail rights reserved. 

This book makes reference to various Disney copyrighted characters, characters, trademarks, 
marks, and registered marks owned by The Walt Disney Company and Disney Enterprises, Inc. 
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Sabre Foundation 

Dedicated with love \o Dee 

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Foreword xiii 

Acknowledgements xv 

Innovation 1 

1. Review and New Approach 3 

2. Artist/Actor 6 

3. Don't Be Ordinary 9 

4. Sketcher 12 

5. Plus or Minus 18 

6. Mood Symbols 21 

7. Breaking the Constraint Barrier 26 

8. The Agony and the Ecstasy 30 

9. Making Ail Parts Work Together to Shape a Gesture 34 

10. Forces (Energy, Animation, Power, Vim, Vigor, and Vitality) 37 

11. Pure Performance 42 

12. Different Concepts 45 

13. A Time for This and a Time for That 48 

14. Look to This Day 53 

15. Entertainment 57 

16. Follow-Up Department 61 

17. Entertainment II 62 

18. Playing to the Balcony 66 

Drowing 71 

19. A Sack of Flour 73 

20. Pantomime (Drawing) Préparation 76 

21. That Darned Neck 80 

22. Crayolas? 85 

23. Hands (Those Darned?) 89 

24. Plight of a Gesture 94 

25. Concepts for Drawing 97 

26. Drawing Appropriate Gestures for Your Characters 100 

27. Drawings Ain'tjust Drawing 104 

28. The Importance of Sketching 109 

29. Getting Emotionally Involved 111 

30. Gesture Further Pursued 113 

31. Caricature 119 

32. Perspective 124 

33. Hâve Something to Say and Keep It Simple 129 

34. Keeping Flexibility in Your Drawing 132 

35. Seeing and Drawing the Figure in Space 137 

36. Don't Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Drawing 142 

xii Contents 

37. Hey, Look ot Me ... Look of Me! 145 

38. Learn From the Mistokes of Others 148 

39. Quest and Fulfillment 153 

40. Getting Adjusted to New Production 156 

41. More Animal Talk 166 

42. In Further Praise of Quick Sketching 173 

43. Impression - Expression = Dépréssion 177 

Expression 1 81 

44. Drawing a Clear Portrayal of Your Idea 1 83 

45. Think Caricature 190 

46. Going Into That World! 195 

47. Understanding What You See 199 

48. An Inspirational Journey 205 

49. Comic Relief 209 

50. If It Needs to Lean, Then Lean It 215 

51. Don't Tell, But Show! 224 

52. Mainly Mental 231 

53. The Shape of a Gesture 236 

54. Dreams Impossible to Resist 244 

55. Short Book on Drawing 251 

56. Encompassing Reality with Ail Your Senses 254 

57. Gestures, Moons, and Tangents 261 

58. Include Your Audience 268 

59. The Wonders of the Right and Left Hemispheres 274 

60. Making the Ruies of Perspective Corne to Life 281 

61. In Further Praise of the Ruies of Perspective 288 ^ 

62. There Is No End to Thinking Overlap 294 

63. Space is Created 303 

64. Words and Expérience 314 

65. Look, This Is What I Saw 321 

66. Breaking Away 326 

67. The Shape of the Gesture II 335 

68. ATribute 345 

Crédits 350 


Once in a lifetime, a truly exceptional teacher crosses your path and changes your life forever. To me 
and to many, many of my colleagues in the arts, Walt Stanchfield was that teacher. 

Part painter, part poet, part musician, part tennis bum, part eccentric savant, part wise professer, 
Walt inspired a génération of young artists not only with his vast understanding of the animator's craft, 
but aiso his ability to teach that craft and share his enthusiasm for a life in the arts. 

Born in 1919 in Los Angeles, Walt began his career in animation in 1937, right out of high school, 
at the Charles Mintz Studio. He served in the U.S. Navy, then joined the Walter Lantz Studio prier to 
his lengthy tenure at The Walt Disney Studios. There he w'orked on every full-length animated feature 
between The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) and The Great Mouse Détective (1 986). 

Walt's writing started in the 1970s, when vétéran animators at the Disney Studio were at the end 
of their illustrious careers and nev/ talent was pouring into the studio. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston 
turned to writing their iconic book The Illusion of Life and Stanchfield focused on establishing a training 
program for new animators with vétéran animator and director Eric Larson. Walt held regular weekiy 
drawing classes and lectures for the crew. Among the young talent: Brad Bird, John Lasseter, Don Bluth, 
Joe Ranft, John Musker, Ron Cléments, Glen Keane, Andréas Déjà, Mark Henn, and so many others. 

By the mid 1980s Walt started weekiy gesture drawing classes for the entire studio. At the end of 
each class, he grabbed a few drawings that inspired or challenged him, then pasted them up with his 
typewritten commentary as a handout for everyone in the class. These weekiy lecture notes along with 
his early writing for the animation training program are the basis for this first-time publication of his com¬ 
plété and prolific work. 

In late 1987, I asked Walt to corne to London to train the crew on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The 
artists led by legendary director Richard Williams would crowd around him on the vacant third floor of 
the Edwardian factory building that was our studio. They would hang on his every word and absorb 
every line of his drawings. When it came time to pose, we had a leggy supermodel dressed up like 
Jessica, but Walt was the one who moved like her and helped us see what made her beautifui and sexy. 

Walt's writing became the bible of animation for a very young enthusiastic crew of artists that 
would eventually create films like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. 
Because of Walt's informai approach to these notes, many of the drawings included here are a généra¬ 
tion or two away from the artist's original. This photocopied style is very much in keeping with Walt's 
casual, conversational style of teaching. 

The text herein has largely been left alone, as written by Walt. His conversational style is so com- 
pletely accessible to the artist, it seemed wrong to formalize or edit his voice out of the matériel in any 
way. Parts of the text are very heavy with animation terms and technique, but remain as written because 
they appiy to the art of drawing in any medium. Topics appear in no particular order and the sections 
are meant to be browsed as either instant inspiration, or week-long immersion into any array of subjects. 
The random nature of topics is aIso a signature of Walt's personality and approach. He saw life as a 
unified expérience. Drawings inspired paintings, which inspired poetry, which inspired architecture, 
which inspired travel, which inspired tennis — ail connected parts of an artist's life expérience. 

Drawn to Life is one of the strongest primers on animation ever written. The matériel spares no detail 
on the craft of animation, but aiso digs deep into the artistic roots of the medium. We get a chance to 
see Walt grow personally as an artist over the span of 20 years represented in these two books. It's a 
journey that takes him from admired production artist, to technical teacher, to beloved philosopher. 

xiv Foreword 

Walt's affect on his students extended way beyond the drawing board. It's not just that he drew 
better than everyone eise, or taught better than everyone eise — I admired Walt so much because he 
seemed to live better than everyone eise. When he vvas not drawing, he was playing guitar, writing 
poetry, tending his vegetable garden, or making baskets in the style of the Chumash Indians. He was 
never without a pen and would often color his drawings by dipping a brush into his cup of coffee at 
breakfast. The drawings were aiways loose, improvisational, impressionistic and olive, just like their 

He passed away in the year 2000 leaving behind a thousand pages of lecture notes and a généra¬ 
tion of magnificent animators. With thanks to Dee Stanchfield, Focal Press and The Walt Disney Studios, 
and spécial thanks to my co-editors, Connie Thompson and Maggie Gisel, it is with great pleasure that 
the genius of Walt Stanchfield is now available to you in the pages of Drawn to Life. 




Don Hahn 



Maggie Gisel 

Margaret Adamic 


Connie Thompson 

Ashiey Petry 



Dee Stonchfield 



Fox Carney 

Doug Engalla 

Kothy Emerson 

Ann Hansen 

Christopher Goido 

Kristen McCormick 

Josh Gladstone 

Lella Smith 

Kent Gordon 

jackie Vasquez 

Charles Hayes 

Mary Walsh 

Fumi Kitahara 

Patrick White 

Tracey Miller-Zarneke 

Stéphanie Von Boxtel 



Chantal Bumgarner 

Ginger Chen 

Kevin Breen 

Tenny Chonin 


Howard Green 

Tiffany Herrington 

Jane Dashevsky 

Bill Matthews 

Paul Gottehrer 

Robert Tiemans 

Amanda Guest 

Pamela Thompson 

Georgia Kennedy 

Chris Simpson 


Katy Spencer 

Patti Conklin 

Anais Wheeler 

Kathleen Grey 


Joanne Blank 

Rhiannon Hume 


Dennis Schaefer 

Kris Taft Miller 


Walt Stanchfield 3 

Review and New Approach 

Some of you hâve been studying in our gesture analysis class for a long time now. The subject has been 
drawing and the emphasis has been drawing specifically with animation in mind. We hâve covered 
such areas as "Animation and Sketching," wherein I implored you to carry a sketchbook with you and 
sketch, sketch, and sketch. 

I did a paper on "Mental and Physical Préparation" wherein I extolled the benefits of keeping in 
good shape. No illustration here for good shape does not refer to developing an Adonis-like body or a 
genius-like mind, not that we could if we tried, but at least a healthy mental and physical State that will 
help withstand the rigors they will be put to in pursuing an animation career. 

I introduced the subject of angles in "Using Angles" and hâve pushed that subject as a very impor¬ 
tant element in capturing the gesture in drawing from the model and in creating movement in animation. 

We covered "Doodling and Drawing" several times. The idea behind it was that doodling leads you 
to something, whereas if you hâve a spécifie gesture you are after — drawing will getyou there. 

Then "Simplicity for the Sake of Clarity." How many times hâve we lost our original idea in a maze 
of complications? One remedy for that is to bock off and try to recapture that all-important first impres¬ 
sion. To illustrate that lesson I used Frank Thomas's seemingly simple animation and (probably) Dale 
Oliver's seemingly simple cleanup drawings. I say seemingly simple because though it appears to be 
simple, still a great deal of thought went into each function to make it appear simple. Not for the sake 
of simplicity, but for the sake of readability. There was an idea to put over and any complication would 
only hâve been detraction. 



4 Drown to Life 

"The Opposing Force." Angle against ongle, squash ogoinst stretch, close proximity ogoinst 
openness — potent tools in both drowing from the model and in animation. 

"Action Analysis: Hands and Feet." This was a short paper, but a revealing one. it wos prompted by 
the tendency of students to leove the hands and feet (and props) off their drawings. Using some illustra¬ 
tions, I attempted to prove that you can tell more what a character is doing by their hands and feet thon 
you can from their body. 

There wos a lesson, "For the Action Analysis Class." The class used to be called "Action Analysis" 
because years ago we used animation paper and drew 3 action poses on portable pegs. We did a 
préparation, anticipation, and action drawing for each gesture. The accompanying illustrations were 
some suggestions for a simplified approach to drawing from the model — they were taken from Glenn 
Vilppu's article on Life Drawing. 

Walt Stanchfield 5 

We followed that lesson with a couple of sessions where we used cylinders in place of body ports 
while drawing from the model. This wos, and is, especially belpful when faced with a foreshortening 

I introduced you to Bruce Mcintyre's ruies of perspective. On the surface these may seem overly 
simple, even infantile, but in drawing they become genuine symbols that are easily applicable as draw- 
ings helps. 






SHoeTëA» t */<r- 

There was "Note Taking and Sketching." You've probably seen the American Express commercial 
where Karl Malden says, "Don't leave home without it." That goes for notebooks and sketchbooks too. 
There was more on "Sketching," "Essence Drawing," "Peeling the Pose," "Living Model to the Living 
Gesture," "Creative Energy," and many more. When I realized the next picture, "The Little Mermaid," 
will hâve hundreds, perhaps thousands, of head and shoulder shots, I offered some things on heads, 
suggesting we start with a simplified approach to head drawing. And we began devoting a portion of 
the sketch class to heads. 

Finally, one that I think is of suprême importance, "Drawing and Caricature." We study from a live 
model, but we draw and animate caricatures. The ability to be able to know the human head and figure 
and to transfer that knowledge into cartoons is of utmost importance. 

Along with ail this we hâve been using pen and ink to help us focus on those points and to encour¬ 
age (force) the mind to see first what we want to draw before attempting to put it down. Everyone has 

6 Drawn to Life 

been most cooperative in going olong with ail these suggestions. Perhaps it is time to explore some 
other aspects of drawing and some other approaches. So let's for a time put away the pens and bring 
out the soft pencils. For a couple of sessions let's throw caution to the winds and hâve a graphite orgy. 
Forget (for now) the subtieties we hâve been striving for and go for bold. Try still to capture the gesture, 
but in the most flamboyant manner. Be extravagant, be bold, be loose, be adventurous, even careless. 
Try to make the most powerfui statement you hâve ever mode, with no thoughts of right or wrong, good 
or bod. "Let," as the old saying goes, "it ail hang out." 

2 Artist/Actor 

An actor's training and his later daily exercises and observations might run something like this: he imag¬ 
ines he is in church — what is the mood of the church and how do the types of characters he plays react 
in this situation? Likewise in a cemetery, a nightclub, at the dentist, at a wedding, watching a comedy — 
the list goes on and on. 

But the problem is deeper than just that. How different would he act if it were happening in ancient 
Rome or Egypt, or in the Colonial days, or in England in the days of King Arthur? Or what if he were a 
comedian with not a serious bone in his body, and took ail this as a big joke? What kind of background 
would he need, or what type of research would he hâve to do, what kind of reading should he do? 

How would he portray the simple things in everyday life — sitting on a couch, reading a magazine, 
drinking a cup of coffee, watching a bail game on TV, or looking out a window, reacting to something 
happening on the Street or at his neighbor's house? 

How would he act if it's dusty, hot, freezing, or windy? 

Can he express different ways of showing happiness for rôles of different âges, social standing, and 
different physical makeup? Would an optimist express happiness differently than a pessimist? 

Does étiquette, custom, or convention effect the manner in which he expresses laughter, for instance 
how loud, how long, or how spirited? How would he laugh if he had a pain in his side, or if he had just 
lost a friend, or if he didn't get the joke but was laughing out of politeness? 

Again the list goes on and on. I posed these questions as if it were an actor in question, but I was 
thinking of you as artist/actor. Acting is the parallel between you and the stage or movie actor — the 
différence being, you act with a pencil, he acts with his body. But the background, training, and prépa¬ 
ration are the same — the knowledge and understanding of human (and animal) nature. 

In the evening drawing classes we hâve been trying to grasp the process of how and why the model 
arrives at the various poses and gestures. The audience goes to see cartoons to be entertained. They are 
interested in what happens (in the story). But we who fabricate them aiso hâve to know why and how. 
So we concern ourselves with why and how people (characters) act the way they do under the multitude 
of situations we subject them to in our stories. 

Last week Craig Howell modeled for us. First of ail he is post middie âge, meaning he has a slight 
pot (belly), his cheeks are beginning to hang down, he has a double chin, and he is beginning to 
get that stoop-shoulder that most elderly people end up with. His hands are large, fingers fat — those 
of a worker. He is very serious minded. You would not know it to look at him but he is a walking 

Walt Stanchfield 7 

encyclopedia. He is a professional model and he knows how to play-act. He has done for us a carpen- 
ter, a waiter, a gardener, a former, o novy shore potrolmon, o hunier (for McLeoch), and lost week o 
doctor and a construction worker. And whether you draw him realistically or caricature him, ail these 
things hâve a bearing on your approach to drawing him. 

Let's explore some of the applications of these physical traits to drawing. Here is an intern's draw¬ 
ing of Craig carrying a long rod. In my sketch next to it I hâve suggested a more stooped over bock by 
projecting the head and neck forward. To balance the weight of the métal rod, I angled the head away 
from the rod. Figuring the métal rod had some weight to it, I extended his hand forward to better bal¬ 
ance the part that hangs over his shoulder behind him. I aiso lifted his shoulder a little to make a kind of 
shelf so the rod would not slip off: 

Here's another intern's drawing of Craig prying something with the métal rod. The student seemed 
concerned with drawing ail the parts. He has the head isolated and the arms and hands out in the 
clear. In my suggestion sketch I tried to show more tension and power by folding those éléments up into 
a grauping of forces. It is like the différence between trying to arm wrestle with your arm outstretched, 
or with your arm, shoulder, neck, and chest ail marshaled together in support of each other. 


8 Drawn to Life 

Here is a rather nice drawing of Craig about to clean the wax out of a patient's ear. In my sketch 
I carried the concept a bit further by utilizing Craig's bent-over upper back, plus his intense interest in 
what he was doing, to force the attention toward the object of the pose. 

Here is an instance where even if the character was not stoop-shouldered or paunchy, he would 
bend forward to look into his black medical bag. However, a person with a paunch would hâve to 
make an extra effort to bend over so he could see over his stomach: 

As you can see these are ail things an actor/artist must think, feel, and do. 

Here are two more poses where in my sketch I not only tried to capture the essence of the gesture 
but attempted to use as few lines as possible, applying two of Craig's physical attributes — the paunch 
and the bent-over upper back. When you know the whaf, how, and why of the gesture and the physical 
characteristics and traits of your character, you can go right to it in a matter of seconds. These are not 
meant to be finished drawings — only the necessary foundation for a drawing. 

Walt Stanchfield 9 

^ Don't Be Ordinary 

Ever try to take the lid off a jar that was stuck tight? You end up bent over with the jar between 
«ur knees, ail doubled up, your face ail contorted in the exaggerated effort. Only an Arnold 
Schwarzenegger could twist the lid off by just holding it at a normal position in front of him. 

When my wife, Dee, asks me to unscrew a tight lid, I first try to do it the Schwarzenegger way — to 
>“ow how strong I am. If that fails, I most certainly ignore the ordinary way, that is to hold it under the 
~o- water tap until the cap expands, but go right into the face-saving, cover-up routine — the overexag- 
çe'ated cartoon version, exclaiming, "Boy, this cap is really welded on!" 

So the next time you hâve to draw or animate a guy unscrewing a stuck jar lid, how will you 
ccproach the problem? The Schwarzenegger way? The only time you do that is when you are Arnold or 
«r-en you are trying to show off, and are more interested in your ego than you are in the visual interest. 

om sure my wife enjoys it more when I am wrestling with this tiny little beast. Even my dog enjoys it. 
-c+’jally, corne to think of it, 1 enjoy it more, too. 

I aiways enjoy drawing a more exaggeroted version of action. If I drew a character just standing 
there twisting off the lid as if it were aiready loosened — how would anyone know it was stuck, uniess it 
was a caricature of Arnold? Even tfien, for the sake of entertainment it might be funnier if he fails, goes 
into the overexaggerated routine, only to hâve the gai he is with take the lid off easily with two fingers. 
it dépends on the character, too. Tinker Bell would simpiy sprinkie a little pixie dust on the lid. Roger 
Rabbit might go to the workshop and corne bock with pipe wrenches, a vice, and a blowtorch. Donald 
in his inévitable fury might try explosives. 

Still, if the two-finger approach was staged properly it could be delightfully funny. Perhaps the story 
calls for some understatement. It may not even be humor you are after, in which case you would hâve 
to find an entertaining way to put over whatever it is. Whichever, it would probably take some thought, 
much like I am doing here. It may seem terribly involved, but usually good entertainment can only be 
acquired through hard work. And to make it even more challenging, no matter how much hard work 
goes into it — it has to appear spontaneous. 

There is a rather recent style of cartooning in the newspapers and magazines that uses a technique 
where things are explained in a caption. For instance, a guy gently holding a jar, the caption reading, 
"Elmer twists off one of those stubborn fruit jar lids, effortiessly, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger." That type 
of humor can be funny, but without the written explanation the drawing is practically meaningless. Like 
if you had a drawing of a waffle, it would mean nothing spécial, but with the caption like "A non-skid 
pancake," it suddenly becomes humorous. 

Pantomime has to do its thing without that written or verbal explanation. And that is what good ani¬ 
mation and good drawing from the model does. 

In the evening drawing class, many of the poses are of the Arnold S. type, that is, rather confined. 
So I encourage the artists not to copy what is before them, but add some zest to the gesture — to 
become the comic actor, so to speak, and step out of the ordinary. 

Here is a student's drawing that I interrupted soon after he started. Any further work on it would 
hâve been like trying to high jump with a scuba outfit on. The pose was saying something like "What 
the hell is this?" or "How do I straighten this out?" or "l've forgotten how to use this thing'" or one of a 
hundred other fabricated stories. Any of which would suppiy motivation for the artist to make a clear 
and perhaps ex\V\ng drawing. fn my sketch t simp\y wanted to assure the viewer that the character was 
concerned about whatever he is holding. So 1 bent him over in a sort of bewildered way, straightened 
out the front of his body (thinking that it would be nice to use a straight against the curve of his back) so 
the look goes rocketing down to the object of the gesture: 

Walt Stanchfield 11 

Here is another one where the model was combing his hoir in a hand mirror. I do not hâve any hoir 
to comb, but if I did, I would do it with a little flurry. I vVould pull my upper body, arm, and shoulder 
bock, getting oll thot out of the woy so I had a good look af the hoir [the purpose of the pose), fhen 
thrust my head forward toword the mirror os if I were ducking something — perhops by doing thot I 
imagine 1 con see the top of my head and farther around the sides. I lov/ered his right arm to show that 
he was pulling down on a comb full of hoir. I tried to clear the path of his look to the mirror that is being 
held up by the left arm (so up goes the left elbow). His right knee has to be higher thon his left because 
the lower part of his right leg is more vertical. 

One of the things we hâve to overcome in drawing gestures is our non-gesture type of anatomy 
training. For instance, we are taught that the shoulders are attached to the upper chest area and pro- 
trude (on males especially) upward and ouiward. But when a person bends over and stretches his arms 
downward — the shoulders are capable of helping that downward motion with great flexibility. 


ro Life 

Here is a similar problem. The back is bent and the shoulders are pulled forward because of the 
nature of the gesture. Try this pose. You will feel your elbows jut way out and your shoulders fol/ow suit. 
The elbows seem to fold up while the knees spread apart. Why? Because the top of the chair back is 
very narrow so the elbows hâve to squeeze together to fit. Contrariwise, the bottom of the chair is wider, 
forcing the knees apart; 

y| Sketcher 

The cartoonist, when he sketches is going through a process of study. He concentrâtes upon the 
model, plumbs its movement, bulk, and outline. Then he sets it down, remembering that he wants 
only the spirit — the "guts" of the thing he's after. He puts into his drawing (even though it may be 
as big as your thumbnail) ail his expérience. He simplifies. He plays with his line. He experiments. 
He isn't concerned with anatomy, chiaroscuro, or the symmetry of "flowing line." There's nothing 
highbrow about his approach to the sketchpad. He is drawing because he likes to draw! 

Lawrence Lariar 

Walt Stanchfield 13 

l* - "g is to tbe artist whaf shadow boxing is fo a boxer; keyboard practice is to a concert pia- 
-7— :-3cr,ce is to a tennis player, or o participant in any sport (or endeavor). I hove often quoted artists 
and cortoonists who swear by and recommend sketching as a necessary part of an artist's daily ven- 
tures (adventures). And occasionally I reproduce drawings from sketchbooks for the purpose of promot- 
ing interest in sketching and for just plain old inspirational purposes. This week I feel privileged to bring 
some of animator Ron Husband's work to you. 

Ron appears to be a quiet guy who just goes about his business in an even-mannered way. But he 
is an inveterate sketcKer — Kis pen is constantlY searcbing and probing for \nc\den\s o\ eNtevY da^ WW, 
attempting to push them beyond the ordinary — into the realm of entertainment. The 100 filled sketch 
books in his room (there are a 100 more at home) might hoodwink you into thinking that is ail he does 
when not animating, but he has several "irons in the fire," and is more thon capable of doing justice to 
ail of them. He is an illustrator for children's magazines, and is involved in some very imaginative books 
of his own; Ron does not confine his drawing to just the small sketchbook format, either. 

I recall an exhibit a year or so ago where he displayed many drawings about 17 X 22 inches. 
They ranged from humorous to dramatic, and were most elegantly done. 

Ron believes quick sketching is an aid to animation. He maintains sketching will enhance drawing abil- 
ity, quicken your eye, help you to analyze action in a shorter period of time. He says the benefits of quick- 
sketching are the ability to capture the essence of a pose, to ocquire believability in your drawing, and to 
sharpen your awareness of "grid" or ground planes and backgrounds. A greater familiarity with depth, per¬ 
spective, and third dimension aiso frees you from thinking in terms of the standard 3/4 front or rear view. 

I had only time to go through a few of his sketchbooks, but in those few was a weaith of material. 
Here is a sampling. 

14 Drawn fo Life 

Walt Stanchfield 15 

Walf Starchfield 17 

18 Drawn to Life 

5 Plus or Minus 

Years ago I got into developing color film. I do not know how it is done now but I used to hâve to keep 
the developing Chemicals plus or minus one-half degree. In sketching, if you keep w-ithin plus or minus 
one-half degree of the pose, you will end up with an uninteresting tracing. To do the pose any justice at 
ail, you hâve got to go at least 10 or 15 degrees on the plus side. Drawing is unique in that sense. We 
are so used to being herded into that one-half degree plus or minus syndrome: set your carburetor mix¬ 
ture just so or you will waste gas, use the right amount of baking powder or your cake will either fall or 
blow up, adjust your radio to the station or you will get static, etc. Realism for the cartoonist is not copy- 
ing things from nature to the nth degree, it is caricaturing those things — turning them into entertainment 
(and having fun at the same time). 

I found a new positive thinking statement I am trying to put into practice: IT IS OKAY TO HAVE 
FUN. And who of ail people should hâve more fun than cartoonists, except maybe the audience those 
cartoonists draw for. It thrills me to see artists corne into the class after a grueling day of hard work, and 
still dig into their fun bag to corne up with some delightfui "pot shots" at their fellow artists. Here are a 
few by Hans Bâcher. 

Here is one by Dan Boulos: 

Walt Stanchfield 19 

Dan treats the models with the same lighthearted approach. 

If I were a cleanup artist, those are the kind of animation drawings I would like to clean up. They 
are teeming with expression, the gestures are unmistakable, and the drawings are unencumbered by 
superfluous lines. They are far from being finished drawings, but the raw matériel is ail there. "Tracings" 
of the model show only that the artist is capable of copying what is before him. There are so many pos¬ 
sibilités beyond that. 

There is aiways a lot of intense looking while drawing from a model, but intensity in itself does not 
ensure an entertaining drawing. We often see what we are taught to see, or what we are comfortable 
in seeing. I hâve been in the business of drawing since 1937 and I still do not trust my ability to see. I 
am a master of looking — but I hâve a filter System like everyone eise. This System blanks out things my 
unconscious does not want to recognize. But it will accent those things I want to see. I hâve a notoriousiy 
bad memory, so I cannot trust that, and being a right-brained person, I realize I take the éléments that are 
before me and reorganize them into something different — something I can call my own. 

In the latest Nafural History magazine, there is an article by Stephen Jay Gould, wherein he tells 
about some experiments mode on college students. One of them was showing a film of an accident, fol- 
lowed later by a misleading question: "How fast was the sports car going when it passed the barn while 
traveling along the country road?" (There was no barn in the film.) A week later 17 percent of the group 
stated that they had seen the nonexistent barn. 

"Thus," the author says, "We are easily fooled on ail fronts of both eye and mind; seeing, storing, and 
recalling. The eye tricks us badly enough; the mind is infinitely more perverse. What remedy can we hâve but 
constant humility, and eternal vigilance and scrutiny? Trust your memory as you would your poker buddy." 

We aiso hâve habits that stick to us like glue. It seems like the first way we do something or see 
something is the way we remember it. 


20 Drawn to Life 

Il might take fwo minutes to learn something the wrong way and then five years to uniearn it. When I 
started playing tennis years ago, the way to hit a topspin was to roll the racket over the top of the bail. When 
the method changed to hitting the bail with the racket going from low to high, it took me years to change the 
groove my body had gotten into. The body has a memory that is harder to change than the mind, and it 
takes part in drawing, too. If it learns to draw something a certain way, your Creative spirit may be hard 
pressed to try something new. That is why changing hands gives your drawing a new look. Your "left" hand 
does not even know how to hold the pen or pencil, and has no memory of how to draw anything. 

What's more, your left-brain mode will bock up the body 100 percent. "Yeah," it will say, "hip bone 
connected to the thigh bone, thigh bone connected to the knee... just the facts mon — none of that ges- 
ture, mood, and caricature stuff — just the facts." The poor, sometimes suppressed, right brain is saying, 
"Darn, I see something cute or funny here but I just can't seem to get this pencil to loosen up. It feels like 
there's a groove in the paper that the point is stuck in." Like that sign on a country road that says, "Be 
carefui which rut you pick, you're gonna be in it for the next twenty miles." 

Boy! You just hâve to keep your wits about you, 'cause the more wheels that go over that rut — the 
deeper it gets. 

On the following page are some examples of plus and minus drawing. The student's drawings are 
ail on the minus side. Angles were un-angled, tension was un-tensed, and the whole gesture straightened 
up. In a Word, they were nonpiussed. My suggestion sketches were an attempt to go maybe 10 percent 
on the plus side; 


Walt Stanchfield 21 

Mood Symbols 

Recently I came across these symbols buried in the archaeological-like loyers in my studio. They were 
done mony yeors ogo, I think by Richard Haines, ortist, pointer, and teocher, who conducted some 
classes at Disney Studios. Originally they were done in wosh, but I tronsposed them into greose pencil 
so they could be Xeroxed. There wos no explonotion other thon the suggestions occomponying eoch 
drowing. Although they speok for themselves, I would like to comment on them from my point of view. 
They suggest moods, stotes, conditions, or behovior. They seem to be inhérent in the nature of things, or 
ot leost in our interprétation of them. If this is so, then these symbols con work os sort of emotionol short- 
hond, and when used in o drowing or action, con subconsciousiy orouse in the observer the émotion 
with which they are associated. 

Drawings are but symbols. They are an arrangement of lines and shapes that merely represent real 
things to the extent that these symbols can be incorporated in a scene (layout, background, or animation 
drawings) and to the extent that the émotion communicated will hopefully be kindled in the audience. 
Using these symbols will not only enhance the scene but will actually work as a short eut to illustrating 
your ideas. 

These symbols may be a little harder to appiy to drawings thon are the common everyday gestures 
we are so well-acquainted with, but they do hâve a psychological effect on a viewer or audience, so 
they are worth investigating. They are applicable to ail phases of animation. If indeed any of these 
symbols are used in the évolution of the story (story development, story sketch, or layout), the animators 
should be mode aware of them so there might be a more perfect marriage of ideas. 

The psychology of color can greatly enhance the effects of these symbols. I am sure Judith Crook, 
who recently conducted a color seminar at the studio, could add much to the enlightenment on the sub- 
ject. There has been much research done in that field, not only for artistic purposes but aiso in the realm 
of physical and mental healing. 

We in animation are mainly involved in motion, which is the thing that attracts the eye, delineates 
the movement, and carries the story. However, these symbols, along with color, are part and parcel in 
setting the proper mood, although the audience is rarely consciousiy aware of them. 

My current involvement is in the realm of gesture (acting) and I strongly feel that in body gesture, 
people (and cartoons) make use of certain of these symbols. We had Harry Frazier, a Shakespearien 
actor, model for us. On each of the three nights I had him deliver a speech from a Shakespeare play. 

I watched him carefully as he twisted his body into shapes that described the text. I suspect he has either 
mode a study of something similar to these symbols or he is just a "natural" actor who feels those means 
of expression intuitively. 

These symbols as presented may seem static and possibly only helpfui in a still life or some other 
type of painting, but that is only one aspect of their value. They represent a dynamic force, not a fixed, 
changeless, immobile design. It appears that Richard Haines must hâve spent some time in gathering 
and classifying these symbols, but that does not mean he has exhausted their possibilities. Perhaps a 
similar study could be done for gesture as applied to animation. 

In the meantime, look these over carefully. Mull them over in your mind and see if you can 
use them to embellish your gesture drawings (or your story development, story sketch, or layout 

22 Drawn to Life^'nûV 

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Walt Stanchfield 23 


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24 Drawn to Life 



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Walt Stanchfield 25 

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26 Drown lo Life 

Breaking the Constraint Barrier 

We spend a great percentage of our lives talking to people who are either in a standing pose or in a sit- 
ting position. The prédominance of these poses is very apt to become burned into a sort of permanent 
image on our retinas and in our brains. The more active gestures such as sports and other activities are so 
fleeting that uniess we pay spécial attention they flit by without making a good impression. A sketcher can 
spot these fleeting moves having trained himself in looking for and getting them down in graphie form. 

Some of us though, when faced with a gesture that doesn't fit our familiar impression of how a 
human looks and acts (while in that conversational pose), straighten the pose up to conform. We being 
humons, are lovers of the status quo, comfort, familiarity, routine; life being less a problem when we fol- 
low the established way, the confirmed, the typical, even the systematic. It's sometimes difficult to break 
away from that entrapment — to "let ourselves go," so we can venture off into more créative realms. 

Maybe that's why caricatures are usually a little wilder in gesture and countenance. We manage to 
step over a kind of barrier into an area of freedom — a kind of visual "sound barrier." Here are some 
caricatures mode in the evening classes. It's as if the artist just decided to overstep the boundaries of 
restreint. The artist being, in this case, James Fujii: 

Walt Stonchfield 27 

This may seem like a repeat of a recent "handout" but there are things that hâve to be said and 
these drawings help me to say them. I often reproduce Dan Boules' drawings for this very reason — he 
seems to hâve crossed the barrier. Even his drawings from the model are caricature-like. I never hâve 
to suggest to him, "push it farther" or "loosen up." Actually, occasionally I suggest that he "tie himself 
down" in a few areas for the sake of solidity and définition — but never to the point where he might 
take a backward step bock into "copyland." 

Here are some of his recent drawings from the class. 

28 Drawn to Life 

Here is one of Dan's "pot shots" ot a fellow clossmote. It may at first appear to be just o lot of ron- 
dom lines, but on doser exominotion you will see thot every line ploys on important port in the drowing. 
It is loose and free, and at the same time a good solid drawing. 

Who says we hâve to draw the model? If there were any ruies in the dass they most certainly would 
hâve something to do with creativity, to loosen up, and (yes, you're going to hâve to hear this again) 
don't fry to trace the modell 

But just making an exaggerated drawing doesn't ensure a feeling of gesture or action. For instance, 
here is a pose where the doctor (Craig Howell) was getting his stéthoscope off the shelf. Actually it was 
a complicated pose, carefully designed by Craig to show the grab of the instrument, with the upper 
bock beginning to pull away, creating a tension, as if a rubber band was going through his body. In the 
next frame his right shoulder (with upper body) will pull bock a little more, and his left arm (elbow) will 
straighten out (the hand will stay there). With the whole action started, his right shoulder will relax, the 
body straightens up, and the hand with the stéthoscope will be pulled toward him. It's a kind of whip-like 
action. His right hand then cornes in to assist and he'll be in a good position to go into his next move; 

Walt Stanchfield 29 

Sometimes when I make a suggestion sketch, I go to extremes. It is my woy of showing the possibili¬ 
tés thot are in the pose, plus on attempt to get the artist to loosen up. For instance, in this sketch what 
was meant to be a provocative, come-hither pose, the student simpiy went for the parts — and sure 
enough they are ail there, but the seductive attitude is missing; 

Here is a drawing of a "bag lady" taking a swig from a bottle. The student portrays her as very 
unenthusiastic about it. Perhaps that is the way a tired and discouraged old lady would go about it, but 
on the other hand it just seems like she could get the last drop out better by leaning back and tipping the 
bottle up more. Besides, it is a clearer gesture and a more entertaining picture. 

Maybe the key to getting more out of the model's pose is to think of it as a drawing for some Disney 
cartoon, and to concoct your own story to fit the gesture. That way you hâve added incentive and direc¬ 
tion. The models can only go so far, they are not cartoons and can only do so much with their stiff old 
bodies. (I engage mostly elderly models. They hâve more character and though the athleticism may not 
be there — the essence is.) The breaking of the barrier is up to you. 

30 Drawn to Life 

Q The Agony and the 

Here we go again! New production, new director, new charocters, and perhops a new leose on life. 
A variation on the ancient maze, a new and distinctive color concept, and more incentive to get to work 
early (to find a parking spot). But whether or not you work on the Beauty or on the Beast — it should 
prove to be exciting. 

Of course there are a few afflictions that need to be healed and athers that will hâve to be accepted 
as normal occupational aftereffects. Here are some of the things we will hâve to deal with. 

Inbetweener's elbow is a malady that is not necessarily confined to elbows, and it attacks the strang 
as well as the weak. No one in the business is immune to this indisposition. It will assault inbetweeners, 
assistants, animators, directors, and computer operators alike. 

Management seems to be the only department that is immune. Although a few of them hâve had 
minor annoyances of the throat from excessive dictation and from delivering acceptance speeches at 
awards dinners. 

Another strange and as yet unnamed malady is what might (after more research is done) be called 
look-alike-itess. Simpiy put, this is when an artist working on a particular character for great lengths 

Wall Stanchfield 31 

of lime, begins to take on ils characteristics. You need only observe your fellow ortists to identify the 
chorocter lhey worked on. So for the only known cure is to be cost on a chorocter thot will tend to drow 
things bock to normolcy (if indeed thot seems more désirable). One especially susceptible artist v/os 
bundled up in his scene and carried off to caméra. He was sent back when they couidn't locate him on 
the exposure sheet. 

Another devastating condition is spot-itess. This is purely and simpiy the resuit of long hours of gruel- 
ing overtime, plus overdoses of coffee and soft drinks. Spots before the eyes can be devastating for art- 
ists who use line in their drawing. In one extreme case, an assistant animator cleaned up a fifteen foot 
scene in pointillism. Further complications developed when his inbetweener contracted staccato elbow 
while trying to follow the extremes. 

6-' é> 

Another so far unnamed affliction is a kind of loss of control in general. The artist's hands (and 
mind) spasm uncontrollably. One scene animated in such a condition is being turned over to the Beauty 
and Beasf staff for possible use in one of the Beast's scenes of rage. 

There are many other random problems that crop up in everyday life that baffle even the experts, 
for instance, trying to pass off a Corby card as a crédit card. One pitifui victim called the auto club 
because her card wouidn't open her car door. 

The fact that most artists can't deal with reality even under normal circumstances is hampering the 
study of an increase in that dreaded disease work-a-holicism. A few layoffs and a few vacations may 
prove to be bénéficiai for those artists who choose to dive right into the next production, but there is fear 
that those addicted will push for even tighter schedules. 

32 Drawn to Life 

A complefe list of casualties is beyond the scope of this handouf, but here is a partial tabulation: 
Marshall Toomey, Eric Pigors, Cari Bell, Karen Lundeen, Rick Hoppe, Theresa Martin, Lee Dunkman, 
James Fujii, Lori Noda, Brian McKim, and Dolly Baker. 

In the evening classes I hâve addressed the problem and am conducting the sessions with therapy 
in mind. I think much progress has been mode along these lines; for instance, here is a joint on the part 
of two "drifters." (See the following paragraph for définition.) In this case the troubled artists are Mark 
Kennedy and Dan Boulos. 

Not a few artists who hâve worked too far beyond their "norm", hâve drifted to a point of no return. 
Their pitifui condition is called "space-itess". The feeling they are experiencing is much like that of an 
astronaut who has drifted away from his spaceship and is wandering aimlessly in space. 

Walt Stanchfield 33 

Well, I hâve tried to make light of the agony — but there is ecstasy, too. The last few pictures hâve 
been absolutely delightful. And in the drawing class there hâve been moments of ecstasy when a stu- 
dent, grappling with the problems of drawing, makes a major breakthrough and begins to see a little 
clearer what drawing/acting is ail about. 

This caricature was done by one of the students with his left hand. 

34 Drawn to Life 

Here are a few drawings that their creators, Bill Perkins, Jesse Cosio, James Davis, and Dan Boulos, 
can be proud of. 

9 Making Ail Parts Work Together to 
Shape a Gesture 

First of ail, I did another booboo! The latest one is not just the latest one — it's a mistake l've made 
fwice. They say the third time is a charm, so I hope you're charmed by this one. Twice l've reproduced 
this wonderfui drawing, giving crédit to someone other than the person who drew it — Mark Kausier. 
My apologies. Mark. 

Walt Stanchfield 35 

I explained a drawing I had mode as if it was an extreme in a scene — the shoulders pulling back, 
the arms straightening, leaving the hand there for a frame-or two (for a little overlapping action). In a 
scene of animation you hâve to time these things to avoid everything moving at the same speed and ail 
Corning to a stop at the same time. It's a little more difficult to work those éléments into a still drawing, 
but it's good practice to think about them as you are drawing. It will add the dimension of flexibility and 
action to your drawing. If you fail to think of the action while drawing from the model, much of the ges- 
ture can easily be lost. 

For instance, here are two attempts at a pose that are in themselves attractive, but there is no feeling 
of life or movement in them. In my accompanying suggestion sketch, I show how the left elbow is pulled 
back, causing the arm hole in the dress to stretch out of shape and the cloth to fold and wrinkie as a resuit: 

But more than just pulling the elbow bock — which happens in this kind of a move — the head 
cornes forward, stretching the neck in front, while squashing it in back, and the back bends forward, 
allowing the dress to hang down from the shoulders in front (the curve of the back against the straight of 
the hanging dress is a nice touch). The point is you are drawing an action (gesture — same thing) not a 
head, a neck, a shoulder, a back, etc., as such. The parts may be many, but the action is one. 

Here is another, but similar problem, where the whole body is twisted, and the shoulders pulled 
completely at right angles to the feet. The model is pulling her dress around with the twist that causes it 
to cleave to her back and the hem to protrude out in front. There are a lot of things going on, but (as in 
any pose) everything works as one: 


36 Drawn to Life 

In this next corrective sketch, I left the clothing out and addressed only the figure. It doesn't matter as 
they Work in cahoots. The model is somewhat at ease resting her lower arm in her lap and leaning on 
her other arm. In such a move (think of it as a move, not as a pose) her right shoulder follows the elbow 
as it rests in her lap. This does two things: (1) it suggests a period of rest and (2) it pulls her right shoul¬ 
der down so her look has a clear path to travel in. Her left shoulder pushed up causes a stretch on her 
left side, setting up a squash on her right side. Squash and stretch are an animator's "Man Friday." 

Here is another pose where in my suggestion sketch you may detect a concentration of attention on 
what the model is looking at or listening to. She not only turns her head, but her shoulders, too (it swings 
the whole attention around in that direction). Bending her forward intensifies her interest in what she 
sees or hears. Again, it is making everything in the drawing work toward telling the story. 

Walt Stanchfieid 37 

Nothing on the character can remain static — everything is olive and moving. And Merleau Ponty's 
statement, "my body....does not hâve a spatiality of position but one of situation," in our situation means 
story. And finally that his whole body, his "entire posture" takes an active part in the act of leaning upon 
the desk with both hands — ail the parts of his body working together as one. 

Gesture (acting) can be a lot of fun! 

Forces (Energy, Animation, Power, 

Vim, Vigor, and Vitality) 

Webster defines dynamic as "relating to energy or physical force in motion." Stanchfieid defines draw- 
ing as depicting a motion graphically, using the proper forces that affect the particular move or gesture 
being drawn. 

For instance, if you're going to draw a character reaching forward with his hands, the forces that 
make that move possible are going to affect more thon just the outstretched hands. Actually it is not the 
muscles in the hands that extend the hands forward — it is the coopération of many muscles throughout 
the body that are mustered by the forces behind that move. Those forces are actuated by the intellectuel 
desire to do something. They inform the sensory nerve endings in the muscles to produce the feeling of 
stretching the arm forward. You don't hâve to see this to do it — even with your eyes closed you know 
whether or not you are stretching. You don't hâve to see it visually to do it, but you do hâve to see it 
mentally and feel it kinesthetically to draw it. Just seeing the hand outstretched means nothing uniess you 
hâve felt the forces in the shoulder, the bock, the bend at the waist, the reach of the neck, head, and 
even the look of the eyes. 

In drawing an action or a gesture it will help to think of the body parts as having corne from a "nor¬ 
mal" front-on position, and then to feel the exertion of the forces required to get to that gesture. Though 
the body has stopped moving, the forces are still at work. If the muscles relax their tensions, the pose 
would change — the figure would tend to return to "normal," or maybe even fall down to the floor in a 
tensionless heap. If you don't feel those forces at work in your drawing, you will tend to return the pose 
to "normal." You will "straighten everything up." Putting it bluntly, your drawing will be gutless. 

Let's look at some drawings from the evening class to illustrate the possibilités in using those 
forces. Here's one where the "workman" is buckling on his tool belt. His right hand holds everything up 
while his left hand reaches around to attach the buckle. He leans away from the problem area so the 
folds in his shirt won't block out his view. And notice how he forms a shelf out of his hip to support those 
heavy tools. In my sketch I aiso had him lean over toward us a little so he can hâve a better view of 
the buckle. Can you feel the force behind this move and how every part of the body is supporting the 

38 Drawn to Life 

Here is a difficult view — a straight-on, bending toward us. In my sketch I cheated a little by bend- 
ing him slighfly to his right. It's still essentially a straight-on, but the slight bend plus the curved line on 
his upper bock says "bending over." It olso got his elbows down to his knees where they belong — if 
he's going to leon on them. Thot allowed me to drop the "crystal" down into the opening below his seot 
and out in front of his knees. Can you feel the third dimensional space in that area? I call that area the 
"stage" of the drawing — the arena where the story is being told, where ail the forces congregate, sup- 
ported by ail the parts of the body working as a unit. 

Here's the same pose from another angle. I stopped the artist early in his sketch because I felt he 
was headed for trouble. In my sketch I pointed out the desirability of getting the foundation built before 

Walt Stanchfield 39 

trying to put up the Windows. I first established his bend forward, and where his buttock was situated 
so I could get his knees situated, where his elbows were going to hâve to be, and of course the impor¬ 
tant thing — the crystal. There is a "school" of drawing that advocates drawing the center of interest 
first, then adjusting everything eise to suit. That approach would require a great amount of visual skill. 

I think the sculptor's method is the safest — first cornes the armature, then build it up from the inside out. 
Anyway, here's the drawing, and incidentaliy, can you see that third dimensional area in this drawing 
that I mentioned in the above sketch? 

Here's an interesting one. The model (our own Kevin Smith) is holding the crystal at an arm's length 
(and then some). In my sketch I tried to show that the more you can show the continuity of the forces, the 
clearer the statement will be. l'm not suggesting that everything you draw should go to such extremes; 
I merely wanted the forces to be apparent. Even in a more subtie action the forces should be feit. And 
because of the tremendous thrust, I cupped his right hand around the front side of the crystal (half in jest) 
so it couidn't get away from him: 

40 Drawn to Life 

Here's the same pose from the opposite side. As you con see, in my sketch the leg was kept bock 
forther to emphasize the arm stretch. Notice olso thot I stoged the honds in the reverse of the obove 

In this next sketch the model is fumbling through his bag for something. Whot are the forces at 
Work? Welh 1 see his left hond holding the case open (and up so it doesn't collapse) and pushing down 
with his right hand, poking into the corners. There is a certain fascination about the student's drawing. 
As he is searching in the bag, he gazes off, looking at nothing — after ail, what he's searching for has 
to be found by feel, so why look into the bag? My sketch simpiy suggests another possible use of the 

As Don Graham said after critiquing a painting, "So what! It could hâve been done a hundred dif¬ 
ferent ways and ail of them been correct." Of course that was in a painting class. In animation there are 
certain ruies that détermine the best staging and the best acting. You may get away with "murder" in 
modem painting but at Disney Studios, the story has to corne through loud and clear. 

in this last drawing, the student has made a very powerfui statement — you can feel the tremendous 
stretch of the left arm and the pulling up of the right shoulder, the nice knee bend and spread of the feet 
(which in my haste I missed in my sketch). The reason I picked on this drawing was because the student 

Walt Stanchfield 41 

had copied some very nebulous shapes on the bock of the model. I suggested that a simple bent bock 
would be cleorer. AIso the orms are both pointing in the same direction, creating an undesirable paral- 
lel. In addition, they are both the same length, and hâve the same amount of bend in them, making them 
a bit static. I took advantage of the stretched arm and featured it as the stretch, making the other arm a 
squash. (The upper back is a stretch, while the stomach is a squash.) 

Many fine drawings were mode that evening (as usual), and I wish I couid reproduce ail of them, 
but here is at least one artist's accomplishment — the work of Michael Surrey. You can feel the whole 
body working as a unit and the forces are not wasted on superfluous moves or distracting details: 

42 Drawn to Life 

Pure Performance 

It's very gratifying to see someone in the evening class break loose from the "run-of-the-mill" copying of 
the model. It happens often, and each time l'm tempted to reproduce them for you. (Instead, I assault 
you with those tedious critiques.) When those delightfui times occur, it seems that the artist has sud- 
denly become freed of ail self-consciousness and entered the realm of pure performance in the form of 

In a recent class, Bobby Ruth Mann modeled for us. She posed as a Hawaiian hula dancer — even 
played some Hawaiian music, via recording, for mood setting. The costume she wore was rather confus- 
ing. If you copied what was before you it would hâve been indefinable. On that evening two artists tran- 
scended the difficulties and came up with some delightfui drawings. One of them, James Fujii, seemed to 
catch the spirit in which the poses were presented. These are, at the same time, realism and caricature. 
And they are the epitome of Bobby Ruth. James somehow defied or ignored the confusion of the cos¬ 
tume and went straight for the essence. 

Walt Stonchfield 43 

The other artist. Dan Boulos, seemed playfully audacious in his approach to drawing the model. 
He sees things most of us are too conservative to ever dore to even look for, let alone be able to see. 
If you could watch him draw! It's as if he were hacking his way through a small 1 1" X 17" jungle; 
a chop here, a chop there — and suddenly you realize he has eut a path to that illusive clearing — 
performance. Suddenly there is a gesture that is more Bobby Ruth thon Bobby Ruth. 

44 Drawn lo Life 

l'm not trying to "sell" James or Dan. I singled their drawings out only because I felt they were 
outstanding. On a scale of 1 to 10 the other artist's works may hâve been a 9 1/2, or a 9 9/10, 
but these to me were 10s. I acknowledge that many of you, as James and Dan, hâve worked hard; 
hâve drawn a lot; hâve attended my classes twice a week, and hâve somehow gotten into the spirit 
of gesture drawing. I don't mean to infer that these two hâve "arrived." I don't know that anyone ever 
actually "arrives ." Drawing/acting is a lifetime adventure. There is no "formula" for becoming a pro- 
ficient artist. It is just a lifetime of search and discovery. Teachers can only hint at some direction — 
the artist has to latch on to some personal method of finding and applying the facts for himself. My 
highest wish is that ail of you will continue to develop your own means of expressing yourselves as 

Trying to reach a "goal" is not so much narrowing down to a fine point as it is opening up to a 
wider range of realization. You concentrate your efforts only by broadening your knowledge and under- 
standing and skill. I hope these drawings will serve as an inspiration for you to do just that. 

Walt Stanchfield 45 

2 Different Concepts 

It needn't be thought of as conflicting information if one teacher says draw ail the details and go for a 
finished drawing, while another encourages you to be loose and flexible. Similarly, some may suggest 
using a square to block in the head, while others will say use a circle. Still others will advise, think of 
the head as a sériés of planes. Many will déclaré that everything is design, design, design. Ail they're 
trying to do is give you a compatible concept in your approach to drawing. What may give one a clear 
concept may confuse another. If you hâve a concept that works for you — don't change. If you're strug- 
gling, it's not demeaning to experiment with another. 

As for finished drawing as opposed to sketching — there is a place and a need for both, and every 
artist at Disney Studios should be adept at both. Since more time has been spent on final drawings than 
on roughs, I hâve been trying to get everyone in the evening (and day) classes to loosen up. These ses¬ 
sions afford an opportunity to fashion your own personal gestures, rather than cleaning up another's 
Work. Approaching gesture drawing with a cleanup concept is an extremely difficult thing to pull off. 
That is why I use ail the underhanded tactics available to get everyone to untether and run free — this is 
a time to stretch! This is an opportunity to exaggerate, to push beyond the old limits. 

After an intensive period of working on production drawings with their demands of exactitude, clean 
lines and narrow tolérances, one is apt to get a little "tight" — one's concept narrows down. Tightness 
or tension has a lot to do with becoming self-conscious and inflexible while drawing (especially act- 
ing/drawing.) To be créative, one must be in the "mood," that is, in a flexible, open, bold, daring, 
and searching attitude. The desire to entertain should accompany every line you put down. In one of 
the afternoon sessions I attempted to get everyone to loosen up. I insisted that no one try to "draw" 
anything — especially not a tight, clean, detailed drawing. Rather than try to turn people on with their 
pretty drawings, I suggested they turn people off with some loose, grubby, besmeared, messy sketches — 
sketches that tell not what the model looks like, but rather what the model is doing. To assist them in 
doing this i had the model do three related segments of an action, which were to be drawn on top of 
each other. I was hoping for a more entangled mess, but most artists came through with some looser 
than usual, but still rather articulate drawings. Here are some real nice composites of 3 out of the per- 
haps 20 artists présent. The first group is from the pen of Wendie Fischer. 

46 Drown fo Life 

Wendie's two head drawings are in keeping with my request (during the head sketching period) to 
stay away from "portraits," and to lean toward loose caricatures. They hâve a light, comical air about 

These drawings by Ed Gutierrez may not appear grubby, besmeared, and messy to you, but for him 
they must seem so — he usually draws in an extremely neat and finished style. 

This is a good way for animators to study from the live model. It adds a sense of movement to the 
drawings. Look from drawing to drawing and you can see the action happening. An animator should 
never make a drawing as if it were a plaster of paris statue — even one drawing alone should hâve a 
sense of movement like these groups of three hâve. 

Jane Krupka was another artist whose work I confiscated that day. Though she did draw three fig¬ 
ures, one on top of another, she was carefui to use only the essentiels in order to keep them neat. I 

Walt Stanchfield 47 

called for messy drawings fo free the artists of the responsibility of clean drawings so they could more 
easily capture the movements, but most of the class, including Jane, strove for clarity. 

I hâve heard it said that while under hypnosis the subject cannot be mode to do something that is 
against their morals. It seems that in drawing a similar thing happens. If you hâve been drawing long 
enough with a particular style or technique — even hypnotism would not turn you aside. This is not a 
criticism — it's one of the many facts of life. What I am attempting to do is pry my students away from 
copying v/hat is before them. Andrew Loomis in his book Figure Drawing says "Try to get the mean- 
ing behind the drawing much more than the drawing itself." You hâve to realize it's entirely possible to 
train someone to copy what is before them without knowing one thing about anatomy, or how anatomy 
Works; gesture, or how gesture ties in with acting; or without the slightest notion that acting is fundamen- 
tal to animation. 

Most of the characters in our cartoons are far from anatomical specimens — à la Hogarth or 
Bridgeman. They are lizards and mice, etc., and in the next production, a candelabra, a teapot, a 
footstool, a music box, etc. How are you going to make a teacup say, "Pardon me, Master... But your 
supper's getting cold," if you are paying more attention to the construction of a teapot than you are the 
"meaning behind the drawing?" 

48 Drawn to Life 

Well, as Ollie Johnston used to soy, "It oin't easy." 

Afterthought: A drawing has a right to metamorphosis, the first stage of which is a rough (often 
messy) sketch. Sometimes, in attempting to capture an illusive gesture, the sketch may even be nebulous, 
ambiguous, and even downright obscure. 

A Time for This and a Time for That 

If I may misquote the Bible, "There is a time for this and a time for that." And that's just what we've been 
doing. There is a time for hard-core study, v/ith your nose in an anatomy book or attending lectures and 
studying animation. And there is a time for quick sketching and gesture drawing — a period of stretch- 
ing the imagination and loosening up. 

In one of the Thursday afternoon drawing classes everyone seemed to loosen up. There was an air 
of freedom of expression. Lighthearted attitudes allowed for much freer sketching — at times there was 
a definite release of tension, becoming apparent audibly. There were even "hotspots" of hilarity as one 
or another artist got a little light-headed and ventured into the realm of cartooning. I encouraged it, for I 
believe it's okay to be funny at times — after all we are cartoonists. 

Even the poses were innovative that day, which by the way, were done by the students. I think it is 
good practice to hâve to search within to corne up with a pose that is worthy of drawing — especially 
for artists involved in animation. In keeping with the heightened préoccupation of the moment, someone 
brought in a bike to pose with. Here is Ron Westlund's rather nice sketch on one of the bike poses. To 
the right of that is a more lighthearted version by Eric Pigors. 

On top of the next page is another nice sketch (artist unidentified, sorry) and next to it a sketch by 
Kris Heller — done with her left hand. 


Walt Stanchfield 49 

And of course Eric Pigors on the other side of the room "slides into home" with this imaginative ver¬ 
sion of the same pose. To its right is a drawing by Près Romanillos, where he turned the handles of the 
bike into something more meaningfui to him. 

l'd like to show you more of Kris's sketches mode with her left hand. She succeeded in breaking ali 
the habits formed with the right hand and found a new freedom of expression. The left hand was inca¬ 
pable of drawing any detail so Kris got a real nice, loose drawing of the gesture. I think these are very 

50 Drawn to Life 

But don't go away! Kris, in her inspired State, decided to hold the pen in one place and move the 
poper. I don't think even Betty Edwards thought of thot. 

In the meontime, on the other side of the room, Eric, who by the way, did some nice realistic draw- 
ings aiso, was busy soaring off into cortoon lond — turning the model into animais, mechanical men, 
and other aberrant créatures. 

Walt Stanchfield 51 

Even the rather reserved (at least on the surface) Laurey Foulkes got in the spirit of the moment and 
rendered a male model in this slightiy unorthodox way. 

Of course the session was not ail party and games. I hovered over them as usual (about 25 artists 
that day) and they knew who was the next victim when they heard my pen snap open behind them, and 
my old knees crack as I knelt beside them. Sometimes 1 would get "two birds with one stone," saying 
to the artist in the next seat, "That goes for you, too." Anyway, here are some student's drawings with 
my suggestions beside them. This is a typical "waterloo" of poses — the figure bent over, leaning on an 
elbow. I like to think of the head (the mind) as instigating the move. It (the mind) says "I will stretch for- 
ward to pick up something. Since I am seated and my buttock is fairly glued to the chair, I will hâve to 
stretch from that point with the top half of my body." 

The spine is a key ingrédient in this move, for it extends from the buttock to the head. Better yet, 
from the buttock to the look, for looking at the object that is to be picked up is vital to this pose. 

52 Drawn ro Life 

More important thon looking for things on the model to draw, is getting the feeling of whot the 
model is doing. Ail the ports moy be drawn, but if they oren't integroted to tell the story — they become 
just so mony ports. Here's onother view — some problem — some solution. 

Here ogoin the student got oll the physicol éléments down but lost the tensions and forces in the fig¬ 
ure. Notice how I kept his right leg turned toword us to set up o tension os the body is forced ogoinst it. 
Stretching out his left leg helped the overoll thrust of the action. 

Walt Stanchfield 53 

When I was learning animation, I heard the word "staging" a lot. In this pose, the student copied 
what he saw. In my sketch I staged the drawing so it would "read" clearly. In doing this I used the prin- 
ciple of perspective — overlap. That is, his left shoulder is in front of (overlapping) the shirt; the shirt is 
overlapping the neck; the neck is in front of the pectoralis major, and that is in front of the right shoulder. 
As you can see it sets up a nice feeling of third dimension. 

yj Look fo This Day 

My friends, it is good to be back in the swing of things again. My wife, Dee, who was hit head-on 
on Highway 101 on October 17, has recuperated most of her injuries and can at last spare me for 
a few days a week. For two months I haven't had time to draw or write (or play tennis), so my fin- 
ger joints are squeaking and my brain is staggering like an inebriated jellyfish. I did miss you ail — 
and I missed writing a handout each week. I often think maybe there aren't any more handouts. 
After ail, how many different ways can this stuff be presented? 1 hâve done 139 of these lessons. 
That's around 139,000 words. End to end, that would reach to over a mile. Maybe l'm due for 

One of the things that keeps me going is like once in a while someone says to me, "Hey, Walt, 
I sure got a lot out of last week's handout." Well, l'm a sucker for that kind of compliment. Not that l've 
done something great, but because l've helped someone. That's the name of the game... my game, 

Some of you are probably sick and tired of the New Year's resolution thing, but I recently read 
an interesting "New Year's Resolutions" article by Douglas Smith, Ph.D., who practices in nearby Los 
Olivos. It was written specifically for people who are trying to lose weight and/or are on other physi- 
cal heaith and exercise programs. l'm going to quote the part that I think can be applied to artists. 

54 Drawn to Life 

I think artists fall into two major categories (generally speaking): those who study hard, learn fast, 
and retain what they've learned; and those who hâve to plug away ail their lives, learning, learning, 
learning. Read what Dr. Smith has to say, and as you read, appiy what he is saying to your life as an 

Every year at about this time I write my annual article on New Year's Resolutions. I imagine 
that my article has stimulated a few people to gather up their emotional resources and try, once 
again, to make some major changes in their lives. Unfortunately, most of the people who make 
New Year's resolutions hâve failed by the end of January. Why do people fail to make lasting 

To understand these failures we need to understand the nature of problems and how we typically 
try to remedy those problems in our lives. To make problem solving easier to grasp, you can view 
it in one or two ways. One type of problem solving is like building a house; the other style is simi- 
lar to planting a garden. 

Building a house is a major project that takes good planning and carefui execution. Fortunately, 
once it is done, it is done. 

The second major type of problem is like that of growing a garden. Like building a house, this too 
needs carefui planning and execution. But uniike building a house, you are never finished with 
the task of growing a garden. Every day you need to control weeds, fertilize and water, trim over- 
grown plants, replace dead growth, and plant new seeds to replace old crops. Everyone who has 
ever grown a garden knows that it is a never-ending task. 

If you approach a growing garden as you do building a house, you will hâve an initial success; 
however, the garden will soon become weed-infested, overgrown, and dead. The same is true if 
you approach a "growing garden" type of problem. If you take a house building approach to a 
garden-like problem, you will soon fail. 

Skipping to the end, he continues: 

We choose these large goals in the hope that we can somehow be healthy and stay that way 
without any further work. We unconsciousiy believe that we can approach exercise [drawing] as if 
we were building a house. The truly healthy [falenfed] individuel knows that heaith {drawing] is a 
daily task. 

This year, as you think of making New Year's resolutions, get into the mind-set of growing a 
healthy emotional garden. Choose a goal that you can incorporate in your life each and every 
day. Recognize that almost every goal will need to be reaffirmed a day at a time. We are never 
done in our lifelong task of personal growth and heaith. 

Nicely put, and pertinent to us artists. We ail know how soon we go to pot when we neglect sketch- 
ing and studying every day. Here are some drawings from our classes at the studio that can be likened 
to flowers from a well-tended garden. I say that because it was only after much study and practice 
(controlling weeds, fertilizing, watering, replacing dead growth, and planting new seeds) that this high 
caliber of drawing began to emerge (blossom). 

Walt Slanchfield 55 

56 Drawn lo Life 

Mark Kausler did this very same drawing the same nighf. 

Here are four versions of one pose done with the confidence that cornes with constant practice and 
a target of gestural expression, l'm sorry, but the names of the artists who did these hâve eluded me. Ail 
I remember is the regulars in the class had reached a very high standard. 

I must confess, I don't indulge in New Year's resolutions, but I do indulge in gardening. I feel like 
God when, out of a patch of dirt I can raise tasty, nutritions vegetables and fruits. Drawing is similar to 
gardening in that out of nothing (blank paper, not blank minds) emerges these délectable drawings. I 
happen to be of the second category of artist — the kind that has to plug away in study ail their lives. 
But I can handle that — l'm a gardener at heart. 

Make this a year of grov/th. Hâve a good one! 

Walt Stanchfield 57 

The title of this handout is Look To This Day, which is the first line of an old Sanskrit poem that 
1 thought you might enjoy. It proclaims the real value and medning of each day. 

Look to this day 

for it is life 

the very life of life 

In its brief course lie ail 

the realities and truths 

of existence. 

The joy of growth 
the splendor of action 
the glory of power 
For yesterday is 
but a memory 
And tomorrow is 
only a vision 
But today well lived 
makes every yesterday 
a memory of happiness 
And tomorrow a vision 
of hope 

Look well, therefore, 
to this day! 


Just before I took off in October, 1 was conducting four drawing classes a week. The momentum of 
improvement wos awesome. I had gotten everyone to relax and quit trying to make drawings like fin- 
ished Norman Rockwell or Michelangelo paintings. We hâve different problems thon the so-called illus- 
trator or fine artist. In the time it took those guys to do one painting, an animator will hâve had to do 
maybe a hundred drawings. That's not to say that the great artists of the past, whom we ail admire and 
study, could not or did not zap out a bunch of gesture drawings as studies of or preliminaries to their 
more complex (and painstaking) paintings. 

My occasional reference to the "masters" may seem far afield, but actually it is not. We ail revere 
the great masters of the past. They are an inspiration and a source of artistic information. They were not 
uniike ourselves in that they spent every day of their lives as we do — searching for knowledge and wis- 
dom to express ourselves. The only différence is that their goal was easel painting or murais, and ours 
is animation. Look at some of the sketches of those artists (reproduced here). At that point in their work, 
they are on a level with us as we sketch in class or at work, attempting to capture a gesture or a sériés 
of gestures that will tell the story we are either depicting in a painting, or acting out in drawings for 
a film. 

58 Drawn to Life 

Some of these sketches (preliminaries for paintings, called cartoons) are extremely rough and detail- 
less, but certainly not lacking in expression. They had to tell a whole story in one painting, so a con- 
certed effort had to be mode to get the proper gestures. Most of these sketches are in a serious vein, but 
are nonetheless entertaining. 

That is the kind of probing and exploring needed in preliminary drawings for the more final cré¬ 
ation or performance. It was necessary for some of those masters to spend months, even years, on a 
single painting to complété it. An animator's searching and probing resemble those of the master's in 
many ways, but the animator has to move on immediately. He must do dozens of them in the time it took 
Rembrandt to prime his canvas. 

Walt Stanchfield 59 

Here are some sketches done by some Disney artists that are every bit as praiseworthy as those 
reproduced above. That area of getting down the gesture is of prime importance in both cases. Perhaps 
more so for the animator, for he doesn't hâve weeks or months to odjust and re-adjust his drawings. 
He must train himself to capture the gesture in moments and then move on. That's why in the Tuesday 
and Wednesday evening classes, we are concentrating on gesture, which in a sériés of drawings 
becomes acting. Incidentally, the model was our own master of gesture sketching, Tom Sito. 

ARTIST: Mark Kausier 

ARTIST: James Fujii 

60 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 61 

ARTIST; Joe Haidar 

Follow-Up Department 

Last week I touched on New Year's resolutions. Severol people responded fovorably to the hond- 
out; however, none of them professed ony resolution moking. Actually, what I wos suggesting was a 
lifetime resolution, one thot becomes so much a part of life that it can no longer be thought of as a 

The LA Times had an interesting bit in the column, "View Finder." The author listed some recent 
résolves. Here are a few samples: " get a life," " remain tall, happy and increasingly stupen- 
dous," one guy resolved to continue his sex éducation, a gai resolved not to get caught, and another 
gai hopes her troubles last as long as her New Year's resolutions. They ail kinda' make sense, don't 

But, in the form of resolutions or not, do commit yourself to the studying of drawing, animation, 
humor, drama, acting, and that matrix which holds ail of those together — gestures. 

62 Drown ro Life 

Entertainment II 

In an ongoing attempt to get the students to loosen up and quit frying to draw exacf replicas of the 
nnodel, I remind the class the audiences that corne to see the films we make like to be entertained. They 
are not interested in how well we can draw. And as any cartoonist worth his pencil dust would do, Dan 
Boulos latched on to that one and turned it into "entertainment." 

My thanks to Dan for inadvertently helping me put over a point. The point is that there is a need, of 
course, to improve our ability to draw anatomy (especially hands and faces), drapery, textures, etc., but 
what is done with that skill is what the gesture class is ail about. Dan has an approach to drawing that 
is worth analyzing. He manages to overcome the tendency to get involved in surface details, and goes 
straight to the essence of the gesture. 

Compare one of his sketches that clearly reveals the story behind the pose, with the sketch of 
another artist who was attempting to copy what he saw, and missed the clarity necessary. I think the 
différence is, one artist had his mind on the gesture, which was a clown balancing on a tight rope (or 
wire), and the other artist had his mind on the model. If he had been intent on putting over the gesture, 
he might hâve adjusted the arms (which got ail glued together into an objectionable tangent) to croate 
that feeling of balancing on a rope. I suggested three alternative arm positions — one a variation on his 
drawing and two more imaginative extremes. 

Walt Stanchfield 63 

I think a lot of it has to do with the artist's attitude or concept of what he is drawing. I often try to 
exploin it is "ploy-acting," which simpiy means you put your whole heart and soûl into it — you play 
like it's real. I think that "playfui" attitude while drawing is both important and good. We are involved 
in the field of entertainment and aur drawings should reflect that fact. We hâve a responsibility to bring 
entertainment to the audience. 

So many times in the evening classes we get so serious in our attempts to make a nice looking draw¬ 
ing that we get ail tied up, stiff, and inflexible. So much so that sometimes the drawings are not fun to 
look at. Even a serious or dramatic drawing should be entertaining. 

Last week the title of my handout (Chapter 15) was "Entertainment." I started out in that direction but 
my mind wandered into something about comparing Disney artists with the "masters." I had been perusing 

64 Drawn to Life 

Eric Larson's extensive writings on "Entertainment" and had desired to pass some of his thoughts on to you. 
Eric worked for Disney Studios for over 50 years. His contributions to the field of entertainment are immea- 
surable, Much of his later years were spent teaching young animators at the studio. The heart of his teach- 
ing seemed to focus on entertainment. He taught timing, drawing, squash and stretch, and other phases 
of animation, but ail with entertainment in mind. Becoming an animator usually requires an infinité amount 
of study, préparation, practice, self-determination, and dedication. Yet, in spite of the torturous, grueling, 
exhausting nature of such an exciting art — the product has to be entertaining. 

I am reminded of the opéra / Pagliacci (The Players) where the clown, in spite of his fouled up love 
life, is supposed to go out and make the audience laugh. Are we so different? We hâve problems with 
our our love life, our car payments, our éviction notices, our wayward children, etc., but when we pick 
up our pencils, a transformation has to take place, the "actor/artist" (the play-actor) takes over, the show 
must go on. Laugh clown, laugh. Today you are Canio, King Lear, Mickey Mouse, Ariel, and you hâve 
to step out of the life of the townsperson or the art student and become the professional actor — the 

My mind is wandering again. Let me quote Eric for a while: 

In discussing entertainment and ways to achieve it, we are going to repeat thoughts and facts we 
hâve considered and reconsidered time and again because, as Stanislavsky wrote: "Reproduction 
of life by actors (animators) is a challenge and a responsibility." 

It would be impossible to list so-called "créative steps" in a tight progressive order of importance. 
The fact is, every effort and thought going into our scenes will be important — our attitude, our 
planning, imagination, acting, drawing, action, and personality analysis; our approach to panto¬ 
mime, caricature, and dialogue interprétation and phrasing; our views of comedy, drama, fantasy, 
and the whimsical; our sense of staging, our use of the silhouette, of perspective, of music, of 
the rhythmic flow of movement in a pose, and the need for weight and balance in that pose; our 
sense of timing and the value of a "change of pace" in the action we do, remembering that what 
we hâve to say must be said with the whole body, and that in simplicity there is strength. Ail are 

Well, WOW! Now that's a whole course in animation in two paragraphs. He never lets you forget 
the close relationship those things hâve to entertainment. As he begins his analysis of each subject, he 
starts out like this: "Let's begin our approach to entertainment by checking our..." 

I would like to quote one more short paragraph and then get on to some drawings from my classes 
where we "do battle" with these concepts. Stanislavsky wrote: 

In striving for entertainment, our imagination must hâve neither limits nor bounds. It has aiways 
been a basic need in créative efforts. Imagination must be cultivated and developed; it must be 
alert, rich, and active. An actor (animator) must learn to think on any theme. He must observe 
people (and animais) and their behavior — try to understand their mentality. 

My wife, Dee, who reads my stuff for errors of ail kinds (my writings would be unintelligible without 
her input) was reading this back to me and when she got to Eric's writing she switched to a Swedish 
dialect. Now that's what I call "play-acting." Ail of a sudden it ail became more meaningfui, more 
expressive — like an artist interpreting a gesture in a drawing. It was strictiy a subconscious thing. She 
didn't know Eric Larson, nor did Larson speak in a Swedish dialect — the name must hâve sparked the 
spontaneous embellishment. The process is the same when an artist draws on the subconscious (right 
brain) to make an entertaining drawing. Anyway, it took me about five minutes to laugh that one off. 

Walt Stanchfield 65 

Here is a drawing by a young man who is fairly new to drawing but not new to dedication. He is 
œtermined to find a place for himself in animation. In this sketch he drew what he knew to be true — a 
■-•mon with two arms, two legs, one head, etc., but locking into that kind of reporting netted him a less 
~an entertaining drawing. I pointed out to him how, in keeping his mind free and flexible he could in 
r sense, mentally orbit the model and see what the pose looked like from other angles in order to bet- 
■ç' understand it from the angle he was drawing it. Doing that helps to not only draw things from left to 
“ight, but in and out of the picture plane third dimensionally. 

In my first sketch you can see how I imagined the pose from another view. It allowed me to see 
how low the model's right shoulder was and how the whole upper body was angled toward me. It aiso 
helped me see how the legs had to be supporting the body. 

Here is a pose that présents the problem of foreshortening. Searching for lines on the model is some- 
times futile. Clothing doesn't aiways know the ruies of drapery. For solving the foreshortening dilemma, 
I recommend the principle of perspective called "overlap." It is simpiy drawing one thing in front of 
another (works every time). Maybe you can get the gist from my crude explanatory sketches. In my 
sketch of the pose, I simpiy used that ruie, drawing the knees first, the hip behind that, the chest behind 
that, the head behind that, and, finally, the arm averlapped by both chest and head. My sketch is in a 
very elemental stage, but as you can see, the principle gets you of to a pretty solid start. 

66 Drawn to Life 

Let me do one more drawing critique for you. First let me say that when acting, you assume the rôle 
of someone other than yourself, so you go through the motions almost as if you are mimicking that char- 
acter. No transformation will happen if you don't mentally and physically take on another rôle — act out 
the person. I like to call it "play-acting," because if you think of it as play, you don't get so uptight. 

Now if you were going to hâve to take off a sweater, you would hâve to go through ail the antics 
that describe the action. The antics you go through are what you understand of a real life, natural (or 
caricatured) moves required to get that sweater off. If you can't get the sweater off in your imagination, 
you're not going to get it off in a drawing. In my sketch below, I showed how the girl's left arm is pulling 
up on the sweater, while her right arm is pulling out and down in an attempt to get her arm out of the 
sweater sieeve. In doing this, her left hip is thrust out for additional power. Aiso it makes a lively draw¬ 
ing, angling up to the right, then to the left, then to the right again. You can see and feel the struggle, 
the tension, and the movement. As I hâve said many times before, every line on your drawing should 
help the action and make it more entertaining. 

Playing to the Balcony 

Some time ago I did a handout online. It was a rather frivolous paper, but it met with such acclaim that 
I started to plan others on dots, spaces, shapes, angles, etc., but it got so mind-boggling that I had to 
see my psychiatrist. His analysis was that I was given my first set of crayons at too young an âge. He 
may be right. I remember munching on those things thinking they might color my life. Well, they did. 

I started dreaming in color very early in life — mostly in blue (blue was the tastiest crayon). Even now 
you'Il notice that I wear nothing but blue. Every time I get a blood test the little glass adapter fills up with 
a blue liquid. The nurse says "Okay, that's it, your majesfy." 

Walt Slanchfield 67 

When I got into animation 1 had to give up color for line. Looking at a line as opposed to a splotch 
of color is like looking at everything from the side. That is, an area of color 


from the side looks like this. 


Eventually, after much academie work, art school, soul-searching, and the final submission to the 
great possibilities of line, I discovered that interesting shapes could be made by connecting those lines. 


I found that dots could be mode by chopping those lines up into tiny bits. Heads, for instance, were 
merely shapes with a purpose. 

with one of those tiny bits of chopped line for an eye. Angles are plain lines looking for a place to lie down 


(or get up, depending on your interprétation or need). 

Lines soon took on a life of their own. They were living things which, if I was not quite firm in my 
conviction while drawing, would take over and assert themselves, usually simpiy as lines minus any 
resemblance to what I was trying to portray. I knew I had to corne to terms with this dilemma, so 1 
put lines into categories which in effect gave them new identities, and thus limited their power to be 
"just lines." Thusiy mode subservient to my wishes, they became instruments to express bends, stretches, 
squashes, shapes, areas, angles, tension, action, large and small, far and near, this way and that, etc. 
Drawing "ain't easy," as Ollie said, but at least I hâve some reliable tools to work with. 

I almost dread the time when I retire and want to go bock to color. It may require a complété rever¬ 
sai of the process. Maybe a week or so of poached crayon for breakfast, crayon on whole wheat for 
lunch, and for dinner, crayon pizza with Neapolitan ice cream for dessert will do the trick. 

Well, so much for silliness. It's very often trauma time when we are faced with a living, third dimen¬ 
sion, line-less model and must condense ail that complexity into a line drawing. We can't draw the 
color, the shadows, the density, or the fleshiness. Often the personality is evasive. The gesture is at best 
only suggestive. So what we hâve to do is put ourselves in the model's character and circumstance (the 
gesture) and draw from within our own expériences, much like a stage or movie actor does. It has to 
be fabricated first in the mind, then transposed to the "stage." That way, though we may not be able 
to express the things we are called upon to illustrate in our own lives (physically), we can still, through 
"play-acting," express them in drawing. 

In the book, On Mefhod Acting the author Edward Easty says, regarding the problem of acting out 
certain emotional or physical action; 

...the average actor expériences extreme difficulty in bringing onto the stage that which an ordi- 
nary human being feels and thinks every day of his life. Because most of us hâve ail our lives been 
taught to suppress many of our naturel feelings, instincts, and émotions from chiidhood, we are 

68 Drawn to Life 

now faced with the issue of expressing them as actors to an audience while still unable to express 
them in our own lives. This is indeed a problem that forces the teacher (of acting) to emphasize 
to the student the need for honest expression in his personai relationship with life before he can 
expect to corne to terms with a particular rôle. 

That "personai relationship with life" is certainly open to discussion. But in my estimation, one 
doesn't hâve to expérience ail the complexities of life (human, animal, and bird) to draw or animate 
them. I think reading, studying acting, drawing, sketching, and observation will suffice. If you and I had 
to act on stage what we are called upon to act out on paper we might become embarrassed, blush, per- 
spire, or maybe even become terrified. But on paper we can lose our imagination and if it doesn't corne 
off we tear the drawing up and start over. 

Drawing from the model is very much like drawing from the imagination. A mental picture is formed 
and we proceed to capture it on paper. The advantage of a live model is that there is a suggestion of a 
pose before us as a constant reference when needed. The disadvantage is that there is something tan¬ 
gible that tempts us to merely copy. That would be something like playing golf with cernent channels to 
drive your bal/s along righf into the ho/e. 

I hâve some drawings here from our evening classes that may help to sort out the problems I posed 
above. For instance, here is a student's sketch where an awfui lot of time was spent around the head 
area. I think that as the whole body contributes to a gesture, so should the drawing reflect that whole- 
ness at any given time in its construction. 

If after 15 seconds the model should leave, you should hâve enough of the gesture down so that 
tomorrow you could finish it. If you hâve only the head, then by tomorrow you almost certainly will hâve 
forgotten what the body was doing. 

Walt Stonchfield 69 

Here's another student's sketch where ail the éléments are présent, the pipe is held up to the mouth, 
the beer can held in the other hand, they are there...but just there. In my sketch I tried to show that at 
this particular time, the "hobo" was interested in the pipe, so she was leaning into it in a much more 
covetous manner. "Mmm," she is saying, "this is goooood." The beer, on the other hand, is "set aside" 
for the time being, so is stretched out away from the center of interest — the primary action. That "story 
concept" that I concocted allowed me to get a feeling of movement into the sketch and to pull the audi- 
ence's attention to the action that I thought was taking place. 

Here is another student's sketch, interrupted in its early stages, that didn't seem to be acting like an 
actor would if he were before a thousand people at some large theater, or for a cartoon feature that will 
be shown to millions of people ail over the world. It might help to realize that if you were acting on a 
stage, you would hâve to act (play) to the farthest person from you. You've probably heard the saying 
"play to the balcony." It means if you make a lot of subtie moves of say an inch or two, no one past the 
third row is going to detect it. To put it in plein language (bad plein language), "It ain't gonna read." 
There's not only nothing wrong with caricaturing a gesture, but it will invariably make a more entertain- 
ing drawing, and those in the farthest row in the "balcony" can read it. 


Walt Stanchfield 73 

A Sack of Flour 

n fhe book, Psycbo-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maitz, there is a pithy paragraph with the heading, "The 
Secret of 'Natural' Behavior and Skill." It goes: 

The Success Mechanism within you can work in the same way to produce "créative doing" as it 
does to produce "créative ideas." Skill in any performance, whether it be in sports, in playing the 
piano, in conversation, or in selling merchandise, consists not in painfully and consciousiy thinking 
out each action as it is performed, but in relaxing, and letting the job do itself through you. Creative 
performance is spontaneous and "natural" as opposed to self-conscious and studied. The most skilled 
pianist in the world could never play a simple composition if he tried to consciousiy think out just 
which finger should strike which key — while he was playing. He has given conscious thought to this 
matter previously — while learning, and has practiced until his actions become automatic and habit- 
like... conscious effort inhibits and "jams" the automatic créative mechanism..." 

I think the interesting thing is that the artist can and must, sooner than the pianist, cease that con¬ 
scious effort and go for the spontaneous performance. If I remember correctiy, it was Robert Henri who 
said, "If an artist had limited knowledge but used that limited knowledge creatively, he could point a 
masterpiece." We're trying to do these things in the evening Gesture Classes. Not to use the class to 
study anatomy, the details of attire, or shadow, but to take what we know — no matter how little and go 
for the Creative performance — the gesture. Anatomy is something every artist should know, but not to 
the neglect of gesture. Ail the characters we will be called upon to draw do not hâve the kind of anat¬ 
omy we learn in the typical anatomy class, but they ail carry out their rôles by means of gestures. 

In our gesture classes the goal is to take that quantum leap from the self-conscious drawing of anat¬ 
omy or a blatant copying of the mode!, to an unself-conscious and unstudied, spontaneous sketching 
of the gesture (acting on paper). Here are two examples where the artists (both not directiy involved in 
animation) were able to assume, in a matter of a few minutes, a change of attitude while drawing. The 
drawings on the left are the rather stiff approach they had been using. Then after my suggestion on how 
to loosen up 1 drew a goal-seeking sketch, but in a careless, carefree, and casual manner with my eye 
on the goal — the gesture. Then their successfui attempt to do the same is shown. 

74 Drawn fo Life 

The square and the circle was my way of poinfing out fhat they are not drawing somefhing built with 
rectangles made of wood, or métal, but of organic, third dimensional, living, growing things — beings 
mode of flesh, blood, bones, nerves, with a will to live, move, and be active. 

At bottom are the student's two sketches after the "loosening up" lecture. I never cease to be amazed 
at the impact attitude has on drawing. Needless to say we were both pleased at these results. 

The objective is to be able to mentally picture a gesture (first impression — because the first impres¬ 
sion is usually the strongest), then sketch that picture loosely and freely, whether you use human anat- 
omy, frog anatomy, or a sack of flour. And incidentally here is an example of creating gesture with a 
sack of flour (from Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by Johnston and Thomas). 

Walt Stanchfield 75 



^ 1 














Thefamous half-ftlledfîour 
sack, guide to maintaining 
volume in any animatable 
shape, and proof that atti¬ 
tudes can be achieved with 
the simplest of shapes. 

As Maxwell Maitz says, certain kinds of "...conscious effort inhibits and 'jams' the automatic cré¬ 
ative mechanism...." So don't be afraid of making mistakes — or a bad drawing. You, in a sense, learn 
from making bad drawings. William Gladstone, the British Statesman, said, "No mon ever became 
great or good except through many and great mistakes. I hâve learned more from my mistakes thon 
from my successes." 

Missiles are in our current news and thoughts. Some missiles are guided by their mistakes. They are 
projected toward a target (as we are in drawing), but they are continually corrected by their guidance 
System — learning, as it were, from their mistakes. Our correction mechanism is not quite so mechanical 
or automatic — we need textbooks, teachers, and continuai sketching to keep our "missile" on track. 

Here is a nice sketch where you can almost feel the guidance System keeping the pen within the borders 
while on its way to the gesture. I think the artist is Mary-Jean Repchuk (an Alzheimer's attempt at recall). 


Pantomime (Drawing) Préparation 

Each week I try to reproduce some student's sketches with my suggestion drawings beside them, with 
a commentary on whot goes through my mind to corne up with a "storytelling" gesture. When those 
thoughts are written down, it seems like it must cover quite a spon of time. While I am sketching and 
talking it takes but 10 or 15 seconds, but when just sketching, it usually takes but a split second to fer- 
ret out the manner in which the constituent parts tell the story. In doing this I am not suggesting that you 
hâve to think like me to make a good gesture drawing. Individuality is one of our chief contributions to 
creativity, so you will develop your own line of investigation. That will make ail of our drawings differ¬ 
ent, but will assure that they hâve ail been thought through to entertaining conclusions. 

Walt Stanchfield 77 

My expérience on the stage, in animation, and in study has steered me to my way of thinking through 
: drawing. If you're at the beginning of your career, now is the time to start searching for your concepts of 
octing/drawing. You may even choose not to get involved in the thinking part and just sort of let it ail hap- 
oen. But let me remind you of the chap who was a loyal Disney person, a likeable guy with a good sense 
c' humor, who rather than delve into his chosen career full sail, was drifting along, "waiting for the light to 
corne on." The "light" isn't likely to just "corne on." You hâve to find the light switch and turn it on yourself. 

■ these handouts l'm attempting to suggest as many ways to the light switch as I can. 

Well, I got sidetracked — let's go bock to the first paragraph. Usually, the essence of the gesture 

■ ts you in a "flash." That first impression can usually be trusted, for it's like seeing familiar things anew, 
<e something that's never happened before. Those are moments of pure Zen which spark up one's day. 

And perhaps they'll never occur again — so it becomes a very precious thing. But along with that first 
mpression you hâve to draw upon your sense of logic, your desire to entertain, your ability to figure 
out how and why you were so struck with the pose. A gesture isn't some magic happening — it doesn't 
corne in a vacuum-sealed container with a label that States: "This is a 100% organically grown gesture." 
Your character (or model) décidés to strike a pose — every muscle and bone in the body are suddenly 
'□llied as one, ail taking an active part in constructing and fulfilling that gesture. When you draw that 
gesture, you hâve to simulate that bodily expression in line. What the model did with his or her hun- 
areds of bones and muscles, you hâve to do with a greatly reduced number of lines. 

When you write a letter, you are carefui to choose words that express what you are trying to say. 
So it is in drawing. You pick shapes, angles, perspective, squash, and stretch (which are analogous to 
words and syntax in a sentence) that will express the gesture clearly. If you are oblivious of those things, 
your audience is going to be oblivious to what you are trying to say in your drawing. 

Some of you may aiready hâve this lesson/article, "Pantomime Préparation," from The Stage and 
the School by Katherine Ommanney and Harry Schanker, so bear with me, for those who don't hâve it, 
should. It illustrâtes how a mime must préparé himself for a performance. I think it's doubly urgent for the 
artist, because uniike an actor, who gets to use his body which ail his life has served him in his commu- 
nicating, the artist has to translate those bodily moves into line, and that involves some major cérébral 
gymnastics. As you read this article, substitute yourself in place of the mime student. 

Pantomime Préparation 

In your imitation of a real person, you should first détermine his chief characteristics. Is he friendly? 
Timid? Boisterous? Suspicious? Glamorous? Physically vigorous? Discontented? Next, note mentally 
the details of his habituai facial expression, especially his eyes and mouth. Observe how he holds 
his head, the kinds of hand movements he makes, and the way in which he walks. Décidé what 
makes him different from any other human being. Then place him in a situation. Take plenty of time 
to think through his exact reactions to your imaginary situation. Visualize them as if you were watch- 
ing him on a télévision screen. Finally, imitate what you hâve imagined he would do. 

In your imaginary characterizations, you should follow much the same procedure. You will, how- 
ever, hâve to begin by inventing the details which will characterize the person you plan to play. 
What is his âge? What are his physical traits? How does he dress? What makes him a distinctive 
individuel? Only when you can see him as clearly as someone you actually know will you be able 
to make him Vive. 

Whether your character is imitated or imaginary, you must work out in detail the situation in which 
you plan to place him. Hâve your character enter a definite environment in a clear-cut State of 
mind and body. Invent something that will change his mood. The conclusion of your pantomime 
should leave no uncertainty in the mind of your audience about the mental State of the character 
as he leaves the stage. 

78 Drawn fo Life 

While working out your individual pantomime, keep the following directions constontly in mind. 

1. Set your mental stage in detail — location of furniture and props. 

2. Imagine yourself to be dressed in the clothes of your character, making your audience see the weight, 
shape, and material of each garment and ifs effect upon you in your particular mood and situation. 

3. Visualize the appearance and emotional State of your character in minute detail. 

4. Remember that in ail dramatic work the thought cornes first — fhink, see, and feel before you move. 
Let your eyes respond first, then your face and head, and finally the rest of your body. This is a 
"motivated sequence." 

5. Keep your action simple and clear-cut. 

6. Keep every movement and expression visible at ail times to your entire audience. 

7. Never make a movement or gesture wifhout a reason. Ask yourself, "Does it make clear who I am, 
how I feel, or why I feel as I do?" Take time to make every movement clear and definite. 

8. Try out and analyze every movement and gesture until you are satisfied that it is the most truthfui, 
effective, and direct means of expressing your idea or feeling. 

9. Make only one gesture or movement at a time, but coordinate your entire body with it and focus the 
attention of the audience upon it. 

1 0. Rehearse until you know that you hâve created a clear-cut characterization and that the action has 
begun definitely, remained clear throughout, and corne to a conclusion. 

1 1. Plan your introduction very carefully. It may be humorous or serious, but it must arouse interest in 
your character and the situation in which he is placed. It aiso must make clear ail the details of the 
setting and preliminary situation. 

12. Plan the ending very carefully. You should either leave the stage in character or corne back to your 
own personality and end with a bow or a smile. 

After creating a single study which satisfies you with its clarity, build up a sentence of events which 
brings about a change of mood and situation. Finally, build up to a definite emotional climax and 
conclusion. Such a pantomime will require hours of préparation before it will be ready for class 

(Remember M. Marceau (Marcel) said,"lt takes years of one can just walk out on the stage 
and do it.") 

Under bibliography, she lists Agna Enfers book. On Mine, Wesleyan, Middietown, Connecticut, 1965. 
Under Applications, she asks the student to check the performances of others by this checklist: 

a. Has the pantomime been carefully prepared? 

b. Are the characters interesting, lifelike, and vivid? Do you become emotionally involved with them? 

c. Do the gestures and movements seem sincere, convincing, clear, and properly motivated? 

d. Does ail of the action help to delineate the characters and their situation for you? 

e. Is the action clear-cut, realistic, prolonged sufficiently, and exaggerated enough to be seen by the 
whole audience? 

f. Can you visualize the setting, the props, and the clothing of the characters? 

g. Does the pantomime hâve a definite beginning and ending? 

Under Characterization she States: 

Relating each to an imagined situation, show fear, agony, appeal, embarrassment, hâte, sympa- 
thy, indécision, power, weariness, and joy. First employ your face, next your hands, and then your 
feet. Finally express these émotions with your entire body. 

Walt Stanchfield 79 

in The Natural Way to Draw Kimon Nicolaides says: 

The study of gesfure is not simpiy a matter of looking at the movement that the model makes. You 
must aiso seek to understand the impulse that exists inside the model and causes the pose which 
you see. The drawing starts with the impulse, not the position. What the eye sees — that is, the 
various parts of the body in various actions and directions — is but the resuit of this inner impulse, 
and to understand one must use something more thon the eyes. It is necessary to participate in 
what the model is doing, to identify yourself with it. Without a sympathetic emotional reaction in 
the artistthere can be no real, no penetrating understanding. 

Here are some excellent sketches by Joe Haidar (who thinks he should hâve done better — 
while some of the rest of us wish we could do partiy that good). Look at them with that "Pantomime 
Préparation" in mind and you will sense ail those things having taken place in the process of making 
these drawings. They go deeper thon just copying the model. They, in subtie ways, depict that model 
and the manner in which that particular model depicted his inner impulses. 

Here are two views of the same pose. Examine them using the checklist above. In my suggestion 
sketches I figured if he is leaning over looking at something, his right arm should look like there is weight 
on it as he uses the chair rung for a support, and his left arm should act as a stabilizer — keeping him 
from falling over. Both arms are stretched tout in carrying out their opposite functions; that is, one push- 
ing and the other pulling. The rest of his body can be fairly loose and relaxed, for its stability has been 
taken care of. The push/pull action makes for good contrast, too. I should explain that the analysis of 

80 Drawn to Life 

The neck has been a difficult area for many of the students in the evening Gesture Class. When asked 
for help, I usually just sketch for them my simple, "shorthand" version of the neck in question; hoping 
that will suggest at least one more step out of the quagmire. I remind them that the bock of the neck is 
a continuation of the backbone, and is usually shorter thon the front of the neck. The front of the neck 
starts under the chin and extends down into the chest area, culminating at the point where the clavicle 
bones attach to the sternum. I aiso caution that parallel lines make the neck stiff and "pipe like." Here 
are some examples from the class — I often add a simple "diagram" sketch (in circle) to suggest the 
general construction. As usual the student's drawings are on the left. 

Walt Stanchfield 81 

In cartooning we rarely (if ever) draw those prominent sternomastoid and trapezius muscles that play 
such a big part in the neck workings. Even a smattering of what takes place there, though, structure- 
wise, will be usefui, so I hâve picked a few "text book necks" that should help your understanding of 
that area a little better. Here are some from Victor Perard's, Anatomy and Drawing. 

82 Drown to Life 

Here are a few from Constructive Anatomy by George Bridgman. By studying a variety of teach- 
ers one should get a more comprehensive view of a subject. And as Thoreau said: "The symbols of an 
ancient man's thought become a modem man's speech." 

Glen Keane did these sfudies of neck and head shapes. 

plein TBfcSiflE 

Ki e)»6ea2»-Tei) 

Walt Stanchfield 83 

As in any study, one musf not get too caught up in the style of the teacher (no matter how appeal- 
ing). Although it is said that you may be attracted to a certain style, because that is the direction in 
which you would probably naturally go. However the sensible opproach is to glean from the teacher 
only the things that are meaningful and useful. 

Necks vary greatly, from the spindly, uniikely necks of young children (they look like they could 
never hold up those outsized heads), youths, mature adults; the sexy, fat, muscular, weak, rigid, short, 
long, stiff, etc. Oh, and the older people whose necks project forward from their "dowager's humps." 
And those whose necks begin to sag just behind the chin. As was suggested in Chapter 20, Pantomime 
(Drawing) Préparation, you must décidé upon your character's âge, his physical traits and what makes 
him a distinctive individuel. The neck is a very distinctive and visible part of anyone's anatomy and 
character. Traditionally, Mickey's neck has not been very visible. As a matter of fact, some versions hâve 
him with no neck at ail. Lounsbery's booklet, How to Draw Mickey Mouse, shows the body "connected 
TO a point within the head." Freddy Moore, however, intuitively drew a neck on some of his Mickeys. 

Goofy's neck is an intégral part of his character. But noticeably absent from most cartoon characters 
are any indications of sternomastoid or trapezius muscles. 


84 Drawn to Life 

A simple shape plus squash and strefch are ail the anafomy you need for cartoon characters. Any 
similarity to the human anatomy will be found in the extent and limits of movement, and of course, the 
fact that the neck is an extension of the backbone (which applies to ail characters, cartoon or real). 
Whatever the cartoon neck shape, there is a similarity to human gesture in its action. 

Needless to say, most of the Disney feature characters, at présent, are humans, which makes a good 
understanding of the neck a must. I didn't reproduce any here, because everyone probably has several 
of them pinned up around them — even as we speak. 

In class, when I see someone struggling with a neck, I suggest a very simplified version. I am a 
believer in simplicity (though I like to think of myself as a very complicated intellectuel type). Let me refer 
to Chapter 20 again, specifically: 

9. Make only one gesture or movement at a time, but coordinate your entire body with it and focus the 
attention of the audience upon it. 

With the proper manipulation of line, shape, angles, perspective, and an appropriate neck shape to 
fit the character, you can keep it simple, and you can express the story point effectively. 

To finish off this handout I sketched some very uncomplicated, manageable, squash, and stretchable 
necks that at least you can use in your "starter kit," either in drawing from the model or in animation. 

Walt Stanchfield 85 


- couple of weeks ogo 1 mentioned Crayolas in the handout and it spurred many a moment. One girl 
d she had eaten oil point rather thon crayons. Bill Perkins brought a book for me to read, called Ail I 
^eally Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fuighum. In it there is a chapter on Crayolas 
I thought you might enjoy. 

Good friends finally put their resources together and mode themselves a child. Me, l'm the god- 
father in the deal. I take my job seriously. So far l've introduced the kid to the good things in 
life — chocolaté, beer, cigars, Beethoven, and dirty jokes. I don't think he cares much for Beethoven. 

But he's only a year old, and he'll get tired of chocolaté, beer, cigars, and dirty jokes. I haven't 
told him about sex yet, but he's got some ideas of his own aiready. 1 won't go into details here, but 
if you hâve ever had a little kid or hâve ever been a little kid, then you know what I mean. Aiso, 

I introduced him to crayons. Bought the Crayola beginner set — the short, fat, thick ones with train- 
ing wheels. Every few weeks I would put one in his hand and show him how to make a mark with it. 
MosHy he just held it and stared at me. He had a cigar in his other hand and couidn't tell the différ¬ 
ence between it and the Crayola. Then we went through the orifice-stuffing phase, where the Crayola 
went in his mouth and ears and nose. Finally, last week, I held his hand and made a big red mark 
with the Crayola on a sheet of newsprint. And WHAM! He got the picture. A light bulb went off in 
a new room in his head. And he did it again on his own. Now, reports his mother, with a mixture of 
pleasure and pain, there is no stopping him. 

Crayolas plus imagination (the ability to create images) — these make for happiness if you are 
a child. Amazing things, Crayolas. Some petroleum-based wax, some dye, a little binder — not 
much to them. Until you add the imagination. The Binney Company in Pennsylvania makes about 
two billion of these oleaginous sticks of pleasure every year and exports them to every country 
in the United Nations. Crayolas are one of the few things the human race has in common. That 
green-and-yellow box hasn't changed since 1937. In fact, the only change has been to rename the 
*flesh" color "peach." That's a sign of progress. 

The way I know about "flesh" and "peach" is that, when I bought my godson his trainer set, 1 
indulged myself. Bought my very own set of sixty-four. In the big four-section box with the sharp- 
ener built right in. Never had my own set before. Seems like I was aiways too young or too old 
to hâve one. While I was at it, I bought several sets. Got one for the kid's mother and father and 
explained itwas theirs, not his. 

What 1 notice is that every adult or child I give a new set of Crayolas to goes a little funny. The kids 
smile, get a glazed look on their faces, pour the crayons out, and just look at them for a while. 

Then they go to work on the nearest fiat surface and will draw anything you ask, just name it. The 
adults aiways get the most wonderfui kind of sheepish smile on their faces — a mixture of delight 
and nostalgia and silliness. And they immediately start telling you about ail their expériences with 
Crayolas. Their first box, using every color, breaking them, trying to get them in the box in order 
again, trying to use them in a bundle, putting them on hot things to see them melt, shaving them 
onto waxed paper and ironing them into stained glass Windows, eating them, and on and on. If you 
want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of Crayolas for everybody. 

When you think about it, for sheer bulk there's more art done with Crayolas thon with anything 
eise. There must be billions of sheets of paper in every country in the world, in billions of boxes 

86 Drawn to Life 

and closets and attics and cupboards, covered with billions of pictures in crayon. The imagina¬ 
tion of the human race poured out like a river. Ronald Reagan and Mikhaïl Gorbachev used 
crayons, I bet. So did Fidel and the emperor of Japon and Rajiv Gandhi and Mrs. Thatcher and 
Mr. Mubarak and maybe even the Ayatollah. And just about everybody eise you care to name. 

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next weapon. A happiness vv^eapon. 

A Beauty Bomb. And every time a crisis developed we would launch one. It would explode high in 
the air — explode softiy — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating 
down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouidn't go cheap either — not little boxes of eight. 
Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta 
and peach and lime, amber and umber and ail the rest. And people would smile and get a little 
funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. 

Guess that sounds absurd, doesn't it? A bit dumb. Crazy and silly and weird. But I was reading in 
the paper today how much money the Russians and our Congress just set aside for weapons. And 
l'm confused about what's weird and silly and crazy and absurd. And l'm not confused about the 
lack of, or the need for imagination in low or high places. Pass the crayons, please. 

"Crayons," in one form or another, belong to the very great artists, too. In The Agony and the 
Ectasy, author Irving Stone has the thirteen-year old Michelangelo thinking: 

With rapid strokes of the crayon he began redrafting his features, widening the oval of the eyes, 
rounding the forehead, broadening the narrow cheeks, making the lips fuller, the chin larger. 
"There," he thought, "now I look better. Too bad a face can't be redrawn before it's delivered." 

Now there's a thought. Who, of the artists you know, would you trust to redraw your face? Or what 
would you do if you had to redraw a friend's face? Pretty sobering, isn't it? 

l'm not doing ail this just for entertainment's sake. I think what goes into the making of an artist is a 
stretching of the imagination — on a vast scale. Everything you read, see, hear, and expérience goes 
into your arsenal of drawing weapons. I think you hâve to be "impressed" before you can "express." 
Drawing isn't only knowing bones, muscles, perspective, etc. A certain amount of wisdom has to be 
présent to use those things effectively. 

In the book, Psycho-Cybernetics, the author, plastic surgeon Maxwell Maitz, tells how the personality 
itself seems to hâve a "face." "This non-physical 'face of personality' seemed to be the real key to per¬ 
sonality change. If it remained scared, distorted, 'ugly', or inferior, the person himself acted out this rôle 
in his behavior regardiess of the changes in physical appearance." 

That applies to drawing as well. just "copying" the live model in class, or "sticking to the mode!" in 
animation does not ensure a faithfui depiction of a character's action or personality. The "face of person- 
alify" can be found as much in the gesture as in the physical makeup. 

Dr. Maitz goes on to say, "...the 'self-image,' the individual's mental and spiritual concept or 'pic- 
ture' of himself, was the real key to personality and behavior." Again, applying that to drawing — isn't 
it our character's "self-image" that we are drawing? We hâve to croate the illusion that it is our charac- 
ter who is thinking — who has decided to perform the action. 

I hope you understand these meanderings are directed mainly to the students in my drawing classes. 
The "old pros" know ail this stuff. This is just ail "stuff" I wish l'd heard when 1 was a newcomer to the 
business (bock in 1937). And let me interject that crédit for the pictures we hâve mode and are continuing 
to make goes far beyond those who are "sweating" over the character's personalities on the drawing 
board. In Ollie and Frank's book, Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, they so fittingly point out that; 

Everyone who has worked on a picture will feel that he made the personal contribution that caused 
the cartoon character to corne olive on the screen. The story mon naturally will feel the character is 

Walt Stanchfield 87 

his, because, after ail, it was the story work that determined what kind of an individual this figure 
would be; and the story sketch mon smiles. Because he drew the new character, mode the expres¬ 
sions, showed how he would look; and the director knows thot it wos he who pulled oll these tal¬ 
ents together and kept insisting that the figure act a certain way; and ail the time the actor who did 
the voice is saying, "Well, I know he's my character because he's me; I did him!" And the anima- 
tor nods knowingly, because no one can deny that he set the final model and brought him to life, 
and the assistant (animator) knows that without his work the character would never hâve reached 
the screen. The person who selected the colors, those who painted the cels, even those who care- 
fully checked to see if this character had ail his buttons; the cameraman who shot the scenes; the 
Sound mixer who gave the spécial sound to the voice — to ail of them, he is their character! This 
is as it should be. Uniess everyone feels this closeness to the end product, the dedication will not 
be there and the necessary care will not be taken to ensure that the end resuit will be the finest 
anyone can do. 

I might add, too, that in a very real sense, management, the secretaries, security, and ail other 
peripheral departments influence the final product. And, oh, the cafétéria! What in God's name would 
we do without that salad bar, those entrées, those deli sandwiches in croissant rolls...and that frozen 
chocolaté yogurt?! 

I don't know if any of you are into poetry or not, but Edgar Lee Masters wrote a monumental work 
called, Spoon River Anthology. It's a sériés of 244 poetic monologues by former Spoon River inhabit¬ 
ants. They speak these monologues from their graves as epitaphs. These three lines from one of them 
could appiy to ail of you — after you've "gone." ( l'm not trying to be gruesome — just poetic.) Simpiy 
supplant "Spoon River" with "Disney Studios." 

It is ail very well, but for myself I know 
I stirred certain vibrations in Spoon River 
Which is my true epitaph, more lasting thon stone. 

Okay! After ail that intellectual stuff, let's see if we can appiy some of it to drawing. Here's a stu- 
dent's drawing that has some nice loose line work in it. However, I saw that the model sat down by a 
chair far some relaxation, reverie, or perhaps to listen to some music. That required that she assume 
a relaxed pose (as the student's drawing suggests), but that she would aiso gather her upper body into 
a more cuddly posture and then gently lay her head against the resting place her hands had made for 
rtiat purpose. 

88 Drawn to Life 

When drawing an action (gesture) there has to be some force or forces at work to bring it about. 
First of ail there is the mental force, that is, what makes the character décidé what it's going to do. Once 
you hâve that figured aut (your first impression) you look for the physical forces that carry out that deci¬ 
sion. In the next gesture, the model was adjusting her hat. She was pulling down with her right hand 
and arm, while pushing up v/ith her left (opposing forces!) It was a stiff hat but I still bent it slightiy to 
emphasize the action. Because the left arm is upraised, that formed a "stretch" on the whole left side 
of her body, and conversely a "squash" on the right side. Compare the two drawings and you can see 
how important "squash and stretch" is in drawing — not just in animation, but in drawing. 

Notice that 1 used the wrists as the "primary action" and let the hands and fingers become the "sec- 
ondary action." As a little touch, to show the delicacy of the pursuit, I raised the little finger of her left 
hand. It not only adds a féminine touch, but it helps augment the whole upward movement on that side. 
And notice the ever so slight tilt on her head (not as much as the hat — but like a "drag" — the wrists 
leading, the hands following, the hat following them, and then the head, the last and least to react). It 
suggests that she is looking in a mirror, and is pleased with what she sees. 

Is "story" important? I think so. 

Walt Stanchfield 89 

Hands (Those Darned?) 

In Chapter 21 1 dealt briefly with a problem area, the neck. The neck, being a very visible and expres¬ 
sive part of the body, should be drawn with the finesse it deserves. There is another seemingly insig- 
nificant area that too often, in the evening Gesture Classes, is just sloughed off as not worthy of further 
considération. Let me remind you that the hands are second only to the tongue in communication. The 
tongue and facial expression are almost aiways backed up by the hands for extra emphasis. We hâve 
ail seen actors use hands alone to express ideas and émotions. 

It's tempting to say that hands hâve a personality ail their own, but actually the hand is just the outer 
extremity of the composite personality of the character. Consider the hands (and wrists) of a laborer, a 
ballerine, a pianist; or the busy hands of a mime. Take hands away from any one of them and you take 
away a vital means of expression. Regardiess of the character's personality or vocation, the hands are a 
very important part of their ability to make them understood, or to carry out any of their daily aefivities. 

Ages ago I did a handout titled Action Analysis: Hands and Feet, wherein I suggested that the 
hands and feet could sometimes tell more of the action than the body and head. Here are a couple of 
the illustrations from that handout. 

The hand can be very complicated if you try to "photograph" it in line. For the purposes of gesture 
drawing it is best to learn a simple method of recording your impressions. For the types who are usually 
overwhelmed by the complexities of the hands, I recommend a simple formula. It consists of a square or 

90 Drawn fo Life 

rectangle shape that represents the bulk of the hand. This is a groovy way to draw the hand in difficult 

That simple hand construction allows you to get down the gesture without getting sidetracked by 
those difficult-to-draw knuckles, wrinkles, and other construction problems. Most important it makes for a 
sharpiy defined gestural signal. 

The wrist is an important ally in the battle for expression (influenced by the war news). It not only 
establishes where the arm ends and the hand begins (important), but it helps set up the hand gesture. 

For instance, if you hâve a hand in this somewhat expressionless configuration, it might be enhanced 
by lifting it up from the wrist. Suddenly there is an alertness to it, or perhaps an air of dignity. Bend the 
wrist the other way, and you hâve a hand that might suggest relaxation or disappointment. 

As you can see the change of attitude was brought about by the wrist. So when you're talking hand 
gesture — include the wrist. 

I lean toward a crisp bend at the wrist, but that is a personal preference. Look at this beautifui resuit 
James Fuji! has gotten with a long gentle curve at the wrist. Ordinarily, i don't like such long, curved 
lines, but this one seems to fit right in with the relaxed reading attitude of the character. Notice how 
simple the hands are, yet how expressive. 

Walt Stanchfield 91 

Again, I am reproducing some drawings of hands from various anatomy books (some out of print) 
to show that there are a variefy of opprooches to anatomy study. These are just for information, for 
eventually it ail has to be adapted to the "Disney Studios" style of drawing. The first group is from Victor 
Perard's Anatomy and Drawing. 

The drawing below shows studies of hands with use of imaginary lines for proportion. 

92 Drown to Lif( 

Walt Stanchfield 93 

Here is a collection of expressive honds from Disney vétéran, Milt Kahl. 

And more from the pages of Mad magizine. 


The most dedicaied cuit thèse days is the onc that 
u'orships a group of travelers who ilved thousands 
of years ago In a place cailed Middle Earth. We're 
taiklng about the Mobbits, Eives. Owarfs and sundry 
fantastic beings who'vc bcen immortalized In J.RJR. 
Tblklen^ “The Lord Of The Rings". For years. it has 
bcen a best-seiUng book. and now half of it's been 
seen as a movle. with the second half comlng soon. 
Wltafs ieft for Frodo and his friends? what else? a 
"M usicari So sing along with MAD as we now présent; 

RUls IMTC/ffiett (cUh 
Ores *nd uglÿ créatures; 
mey àSd-nt toear; 
or Arthur Trtacher^ 

And tftey neuer hearrf 

TTiose were lhe Oood OU Odys 
A ipentfVous tirne... u>hen 
SiaughUr utt» the thlng: 

When countiess thous-ands died 
TTuvuohout lhe count-ry^sUe 
Artdad liecause... o/ 

Just one louty rtngt 

A spécial Üme... lehen 
Folks could be IhemseWes; 
When ftgküng toers ioas fun. 
Oftourse, ii hdps.. .if 

begtna ou/ttor-y~ 
Lang befort the Ürr« 
of Bot) Hope’s birth, 

I In a fiu^-out puce 
I c^led’‘MkktleE*rih'l 

* SunH to lhe tune of “Those Were The Days' 

AcmsT'WORT DAucMcn 

You'Il bethe urne 

“noIMnt" Hobbit 

I want vou to tske a long 
joumey, fraught with danger 
and hardship. in order to 
ŒSTROY th« Ring to keep it 
from the avil “Darli Lord"? 

Youwiii havtmat 
powtr, youwiligain 
abwlute contrel over 
everyona, and you 
willrule tha worid! 

frodo Saggint ot the 

What H eail 
rnakes it 
you n a 
say I lucky 
that? i I guest 

Shire,.. lam Gan^If! 

I haar that you possess 
j the One ureat Ring 
I that makes the one who 
1 weersitlNVISI 8 


I put that 
qutte righti 

what?! CT What happens if I keep it?? 

And if I dest^ it?? 

94 Drawn to Life 



Evcfy nigm. I tf< 

k of no» elo** n>*niiift<fe*<r>9 
■ning a! pMCa tn I9t9... 

Hi nien' l'rn General 
Ciaenhowerl 0x1 any 
ot you see General 
He was ïup’jose 
» K»! here before me- 
«vitn trie harmonicasf 


Plight of a Gesture 

Hello. l'm a Gesture. It is my purpose in life to get drawn in a way that brings out not only the basic 
"story point," but olso the subtie nuances of the pose. Ail my octing obilify goes into my poses. 

It is relotively easy. First I think of what I wont to do, then olmost like magic my body just moves into 
the pose. Ail the ports of my body know instinctively whot to do. It is, of course, a contrived pose, that 
is, I am not reolly doing it — l'm just "play-acting." Nevertheless, I sum up ail the necessary forces to 
pull it off. 

Walt Stanchfield 95 

I realize that when an artist is drawing me, the pen or pencil does not automatically or involuntarily 
assume the gesture like my body does. The artist has to figure out how my body accomplished the 
gesture, you might say, intellectually. He has to see (mentally) how I am balanced; the angles various 
parts of my body hâve taken; the squashes and stretches; the opposing forces, etc. This is so he can 
feel those forces 1 am making use of in expressing the gesture, so that he can guide his pen or pencil 

When I first strike a pose, the newness of it is very vivid in my mind and body — it is clear, definite, 
and well-defined. I usually caricature it enough so there will be no mistake about the story behind it. It 
is odd that after a while I lose the newness of the feeling, and hâve to remind myself of the original con¬ 
cept. I realize that the artist has the same problem. When he first looks at my pose he sees the gesture 
in a sparkie of clarity. He immediately sums it up and forms a "first impression." As he proceeds, he 
often begins to get involved in drawing problems, and that first impression — which was so crystalline 
clear-cut, so obvious, so apparent — begins to slip away. So the artist has to constantly renew that first 
impression in his mind, too. 

With me, it's easy to strike a gesture, because I am it. But the artist has to re-create it on paper. 
I don't envy his task, so I try to make it as easy for him as I can. I can't help it if my clothes don't always 
cooperate and act as drapery ought to. Ail too often they don't fully explain what is going on under- 
neath — that is one thing the artist has more control over thon I do. And drapery is an important factor 
in gesture drawing. 

Here's a pose where I was acting like I was pushing a boat or raft along with a long pôle. The stu- 
dent's drawing (on the left) shows that he did not feel the weight of my body as it pressed down on the 
pôle, and that I was leaning into the "push." The instructor's suggestion (on the right) at least captures 
some of my efforts. 

Here's another pose, where I feel kinda' slighted in the student's drawing. Tm hitchhiking, and 
it's as if a car just went by without stopping for me. My looking off to stage left suggests that. The 
instructor's drawing has me following the car with my whole upper body as it passes. It hints of a con- 
temptuous backwash of wind as it passes, or perhaps that I leaned toward it to voice some unfriendly 

96 Drawn to Life 

There might even be a suggestion of the middle finger replacing the thumb... 

Whenever 1 pose, I use the spoce oround me to do it in. I form different perimeters thot help define 
the gesture. For instance, if I spread my arms apart, I am increasing the space between them. A good 
way to think of the tension thus created, is to imagine I am stretching a rubber band — the farther apart 
my hands — the more tension is suggested. That is what I did in this next pose. I spread the newspaper 
open and then positioned my head a little doser to the right hand, because I was looking over to the left 
side of the paper. I had to turn my head (face) toward that page to appear to be reading it. That cre¬ 
ated a nice tension between my face and the page, just like the outstretched hands. I, the Gesture, used 
a body to manifest myself, but the body is not me. Likewise the instructor ignored the details of the figure 
as he went for the essence of the gesture. 

There has to be a certain amount of attention paid to the body (anatomy) in acting out a gesture or 
in drawing one. One student had become frustrated with his attempt to capture this pose. The instructor 
saw that the student had lost control because he had been copying some of the lines that appeared on 
the model's body rather than the gesture of the body itself, to express the pose. His suggestion was to 
draw the torso first, making it easy to see where the arms, legs, and neck are connected. The torso, in 
effect, becomes the nucléus, or the foundation for drawing. 

Walt Stanchfield 97 

I hope I haven't bored you with ail this analysis, but I feel strongly about having my efforts depicted 
with ail the integrity due a gesture. 

Concepts for Drawing 

l'm planning on taking a few months off so I thought l'd load you down (maybe that should read, load 
you "up" — for this is ail inspirational stuff) with some heavy but basic drawing concepts that you can 
mull over in my absence. In directing my thoughts mainly to the artists who feel they still need further 
enlightenment, I sometimes wonder if I am getting too complicated, analytical, and long winded. I don't 
mean it to be complicated — I just try to approach drawing from as many directions as possible. Seing 
a "crab" (July) it cornes naturel to me. Word Kimball once said: "If I can take a thing apart and put it 
back together again, I can draw it." Well, that sure means seeing it from ail angles, doesn't it? So the 
more you know about any subject the easier it is to deal with it — and the more simple it becomes. In 
the words of Andrew Wyeth: "When you lose simplicity you lose drama." 

It is entirely possible to achieve a convincing drawing by tracing a photograph or copying a model inch 
by inch onto drawing paper. You could even resort to a plumb line, calipers, charcoal, and stubs to create an 
acceptable illusion of roundness or third dimension. But the illusion animators are after is of a different nature. 
It has to be in line alone and it must represent some story point. In that sense, drawing is less a reproduction 
of nature, and more of an invention of the artist. It has to be a subtie mixture of reality and imagination. 

It can be a greatly detailed drawing or it can be a simple cartoon like a Peanuts drawing, but it has 
to State its reason for being; that is, illustrate a story point. For the animator's purposes a spécial tech¬ 
nique of drawing/cartooning has evolved that should be studied by any artist contemplating a career as 
an animator. 

I hâve developed the habit of transposing facts, théories, and postulations that I hear and read into 
categories other thon what they were intended. It's the Stanchfield "truth is omniscient, omniprésent, and 
omnipotent and therefore applicable to ail things" concept. 

So last week l'm at the Solvang Branch Library perusing some American Artist magazines, and 
start reading this article about Herbert Barnett, artist, teacher, and landscape painter, and right away 
my mind starts metamorphosing everything into the write-up of this handout. Look beyond this stuff as 

98 Drawn lo Life 

theory, or as someone's privafe opinion, and try to blend it with your présent understonding of drowing. 
Let it Help form a cleorer concept — one you con utilize with confidence. 

In on article from American Artist, October 1990, Bornett is soid to hove told his students; 

...forget ail hopes for a sure-fire formula. He couidn't teach them tricks. He could only recommend 
one answer: to see something as a whole, to visualize a subject as a complex of shapes, rather thon 
as independent éléments, (sound familiar?) to seek out the invisible web of line, shape, and form that 
lies beneath the apporently unconnected set of objects and croates the rhythm that vitalizes and uni¬ 
fies ail parts of the image. Barnett felt that once the student could learn to see in this rhythmical, unify- 
ing way, "It's likely that (he or she) would not need to study or to learn anymore. 

Students found this concept elusive. Barnett wrote that most students, looking at a still life or model, 
would be deluded by the notion that if they can copy the subject accurately enough they will convey 
to the viewer the same sensation that they've received. But the truth of the matter is quite different. 
The essence is, "...elusive and lurks under the casual, superficiel expérience," he noted. "Volume is 
not a realistic element but an abstract one. We don't see volume, we sense it; we remember it; we 
feel it in our bones. We can hardiy expect to capture it by looking at individuel objects. 

Barnett stressed that when we look directiy at an object, we miss its relationship to the things 
around it. (Like drawing a hond or a knee without regarding its relationship to ail other parts of 
the body.) To see a thing well, he advised, "Aiways see it at the same time as something in another 
part of the picture (or figure). To point (or draw) a right hand area, store at the left. Look at a part 
of the subject and draw the part required as it is seen out of the corner of the eye. When studying 
one side of an object, aiways see the other side. See both ears of a head, both sides of an apple 
or jug. In a landscape, see the roof, foundation, and the ends of the barn ail at once. In a still life, 
see the front of the table and the background at the same time." 

Wolt Stanchfield 99 

Now if we may return to our own backyard... When I reprint a student's drawing with an accom- 
panying correction, I never use a nome, but when printing the outstanding drowings from our classes, 

I tell who did them. This does not mean i am tryîng to "sell" the artist. If I print one artist's drawings 
more often thon others, it is only because those drawings fit into my line of thinking. Here is yet another 
such case. Recently, Richard Oliver modeled for us. He does a lot of poses that are kooky and hard to 
form a story for. In one pose he stuffed some cloth into the bock of a strange looking coat as if he were 
a humpback. The hump was crooked and just looked like it was something stuffed into a strange looking 
coat. But Dan Boulos, captured (or created) the essence of this one with quick-witted perception. Here 
are two versions of the same pose. You can see by the variance in them that he was not copying, but 
did them with a generous mixture of imagination and creativity. 

100 Drawn to Life 

I hâve aiways known v/hat motivâtes Dan in drawing the way he does, but last week 1 interviewed 
him to hear it in his own words, and to share those words with you. You might consider some of Dan's 
views as worthy of adoption. (Perhaps oll of them.) 

First of ail, he has gotten over the fear of making a "bad drawing." He found that in trying to make 
a "good drawing" there is a tendency to judge every line you draw. This can tighten you up and take 
your mind off the gesture. Dan doesn't look too long ot a pose nor does he refer bock to the model over 
and over. He says the pose gets "frozen" and you begin to see a lot of "stuff." AIso in looking too often 
at the model, you begin to lose the overall pose and find yourself drawing one little section — then one 
line at a time. 

Dan has a hard time holding on to the "first impression" but tries to get the "feeling" and work with 
that. He works fast because of that. He says, that allows him to do three or four sketches while others 
are struggling with some worthless details. Each sketch allows him to try to improve on the others. And 
anyway, looking up and down between model and paper takes too much time — doesn't give you time 
to think. Those still struggling on the head and shoulders never get the overall feeling. 

Here is some good philosophy from Dan: Making a mistake libérâtes you. You can then get on with 
the drawing and when something pleasing shows up, which it's more apt to do when you move along, 
you can say "Hey, that's great." It spurs you on to the next thing — to enlarge or to finish your drawing. 
And he says doing three or four versions of a gesture is more related to animation. 

The way Dan arrived at those sketches above was by having fun drawing. He says you should 
balance fun with discipline. He thought it was silly for the model to stuff something in his bock, so he 
decided to make it even sillier. Dan stops drawing when he figures he has captured the pose, otherwise, 
why be there? Get on with it — use the time to learn more. 

Drawing Appropriate Gestures for 
Your Characters 

Well, the perennial dilettante is back! During my time off l've done some oil painting, some gardening, 
some piano playing, some carpentry (kitchen cupboards and drawers), and some thinking about how I 
could inspire my friends at Disney Studios to keep up their enthusiasm for drawing; that is, if and when I 
should corne back. So here I am offering my support to you in your quest to improve your drawing skill. 

You are ail invited to take advantage of the evening Gesture Class (or classes), which will now be on 
Monday and Tuesday evenings. And if enough are interested we will hâve a noon session (possibly two). 
The classes should be fun, so what better way to improve yourselves and hâve a nice, relaxing time at it. 

The theme will be "gesture" again — as it relates to acting. There may be only one or two hand- 
outs a month, but l'Il try to pack them with thought-provoking, goal-seeking, inspirational meandering. 
And between classes I will be available for work-related problems that require some great-grandfatherly 

To start off with, I am reprinting some cartoons from the daily newspaper. l'm sure you enjoy the 
strips, but hâve you ever noticed how expertiy the characters and their gestures hâve been developed to 
fit the story. It's hard to imagine the characters from one strip doing things that are happening in another 
strip. That's what gesture drawing is — caricaturing your characters and having them do the appropri¬ 
ate gestures (acting) indigenous to that particular character. 

Walt Stanchfield 101 

Many of the cartoon strips in the daily papers hâve reached a high degree of characterization. The 
characters fit so well into the rôle they hâve to play; we don't hâve to struggle with them. We know at 
a glance what to expect of them, and are satisfied because we usually get what we expect. That makes 
us, the audience, feel good (even superior) because we foresaw the unfolding of the story or the gag. 

The gestures (acting) in Peanuts are usually pretty subtie, but where the story or gag doesn't require 
3 flamboyant action, the contemplative style of Schuiz's gestures tell the story very well. 

102 Drawn to Life 

The Wizard of Id shares his strip with sortie great actors. He, the Wizard, is "obove it ail," so 
assumes gestures that attest to his superior intellect. 

Sir Rodney, the inept worrior, is a smort oleck with a shorp tongue, often suffering for it in gestures 
not of his own choosing. 

Walt Stanchfield 103 

It's a temptation to go on — there's Beetle Bailey, Calvin and Hobbes, Andy Capp, etc. Ail choroc- 
ters who do their thing in a perfect morriage of chorocter, story, and gesture. 

When you are going to draw someone — a model, a sketch, a charocter in a cartoon — you sum 
up his personality ot a glonce. Your discerning approisal tells you instontly how he will deliver his speech, 
how he will walk, throw a bail, and to what extremes you may push his actions. Usually the face tells you 
much about his charocter. The first thing you look for is sincerify. You immediately categorize the person (or 
animal) as sincere or devious or affected. Either way you hâve some aids to help you make your drawing. 

Part of our individuality in drawing stems from our own personality and training. We hâve spent ail 
of our lives observing, comparing, and judging the charocter of others, and generally speaking we 
ail arrive at similar judgments. And though your assessment and mine may be agreeable, our portrayal 
will be uniquely different. 

So when you begin a drawing, don't get bogged down in the anatomy, the outline, and details, 
but call upon your sense of charocter judgment and draw accordingly. Usually we hâve models corne 
as characters, such as a clown, a carpenter, or a cook. It gives us a chance to play-act, which takes the 
great weight of seriousness off our shoulders and gives us a pleasant theme to work on. We can urge 
this make believe charocter to do his thing in our drawing — in the form of appropriate gestures. 

When drawing for an audience, we hâve to make sure we hâve put ail the éléments (gestures) of 
the charocter into the drawing so they, the audience, are literally coerced into seeing the charocter the 
way we want them to; that is, in accordance with the way the charocter fits into the story. 

That is what gesture drawing is ail about. We're not studying anatomy or drapery — we're studying 
acting and the art of persuasion. 

Aiways remember the company may think of the audience as customers, but you hâve to think of 
them as fans. 

When I was studying singing years ago, a teacher told me to sing to one person in the audience. It 
could be my mother, wife, or a friend. That applies to drawing also. It's not much fun expressing yourself 
if you hâve no one to direct it to or to appreciate it. That is why apprentices work hard and make such 
strides — they try to do well for their instructors. Athlètes try to win for their country, school, or bank- 
book. And of course everyone wants to please themselves. 

The author Kurt Vonnegut said: "Even a successfui créative person créâtes with an audience of one 
in mind." 

The author E. B. White said: "...the true writer aiways plays to an audience of one." 

John Steinbeck said: "Your audience is one single reader. I hâve found that sometimes it helps to 
pick out one person — a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one." 

Here is a good one to appiy to drawing when things seem to be especially tough: Nathaniel 
Hawthorne quipped, "Easy reading is damned hard writing." 

(Those quotes are from Writers on Writing, byjon Winokur.) 

Nietzsche, that controversial philosopher said: "Even a thought, even a possibility, can...transform us." 

That is the spirit with which I print this stuff. 

104 Drawn to Life 

Drawings Ain't Just Drawing 

A writer of fiction or film scripts must be highly skilied in the art of storytelling; how to develop and 
further the plot by use of characterization, dialog, action, locale, émotion, etc. AH of those things must 
be interwoven and revealed at the proper time so the reader is whisked along through the story with as 
little intellectual discomfort as possible. Présent day prose must move along at a respectable twentieth 
(almost twenty-first) century pace. Contemporary writers can't mess around with long and boring (even 
if well written) explanatory passages, descriptions, and meandering dialog. Every word has to be care- 
fully chosen. One single sentence may hâve to describe the character, the locale, the reason for being 
there, and what might happen as a result-of ail these things. 

In the last handout (Chapter 26) I used some cartoon strips as examples of characterization. Here 
I présent still another to illustrate the desirability and benefits of being brief and yet explaining every- 
thing. By the use of a simple setting, well-chosen props, the attitudes, and terse, unambiguous dialog of 
the peasants; the locale is set, the story line is clearly presented, the characters are elegantly described 
(both by looks and dialog), and the story line moves right along to a definite conclusion — in two 
frames! It's beautifui, whether you believe in the basic premise or not. Even the horseflies add atmo¬ 
sphère without distracting from the story's progression. 

Anyway, it takes an infinité amount of observation and empathy on the part of the writer to make the 
story interesting but not get too bogged down in superfluous details. The audience has had a life-drama 
of its own, dramatic and humorous, so the storyteller has but to create a new life-drama, designed so 
the audience, drawing on its own past expérience can enter into the fabricated one with ease and hope- 
fully, pleasure. 

l've corne to believe that artists and cartoonists must know what the writer knows and perhaps then 
some. If one picture is going to live up to the old Chinese saying and be "...worth a thousand words," 
it's sure going to hâve to be very articulate and expressive. The writer tells his story with words; the art- 
ist does the same with drawings. One word can be important in writing, even critical — can change the 
feeling, the mood, the nuance. So can one drawing, or even a line in a drawing, be important in carry- 
ing the story in a forward direction. 

One way to create interest in a story is to introduce conflict, and then proceed to résolve the conflict 
is some unique way. Conflict can be befween good and evii, male and female, aggression and peaceful- 
ness; mon against the éléments, man against himself or his neighbor, or against an imagined thing, etc. 

Conflict, in the form of tension, aiso adds interest to a drawing. One arm stretching up as the other 
reaches down; a person stooping down, picking something up; a person's feet wanting to walk to stage 
righf, while the face looks to stage left, thinking, "Maybe we ought to be going the other way." The bips 

Walt Stanchfield 105 

may be fwisted to the rigbt while the shoulders twist to the left. Sometimes these things happen as the 
resuit of decisions (or indécision) on the part of the character. At other times they are the resuit of Per¬ 
sonal physical idiosyncrasies, or some outside influence. 

A purely spontaneous use of bodily tension occurs when a person stands with their weight on one 
leg. Almost aiways, if the right hip is high, the right shoulder will be low. Here are a couple of examples 
from a recent drawing class to illustrate the point. In the first example the student came very close to 
making a nice drawing, but there is no tension (conflict). In my "suggestion" drawing, I figured that since 
the left leg was sort of pushing up from the floor, the left hip would be high, causing the left shoulder 
to be lower thon the right one. The body aiways attempts to stabilize or balance itself. Here we hâve a 
Paradox, for it seems that to balance itself and to maintain some stability and symmetry, the body has to 
establish some kind of conflict or tension. But this is as it should be, and a drawing without tension tends 
to be rigid and lifeless. Life itself would be boring, even as a story or a drawing without tension would 
be boring. Maybe that's why we enjoy compétitive sports, mystery programs, puzzles, etc. For drawings 
to reflect real life they must hâve conflict or tension in them. 

In this next example the pose was a difficult one, so the student was stumped. I suggested using 
some logic. Since the weight was on the left leg, that hip would be high, so to croate balance to this 
situation, the left shoulder is dropped. We ail do it! 

106 Drown to Life 

I often suggest in class that we try to feel the pose in our bodies. After ail, we won't hâve a model to 
look at while struggling with a difficult action at our animation desk. We'll hâve to rely on our sense of 
the pose — kinesthesia, the sensation of position, movement, tension, etc., of parts of the body. That is 
what I mean by "play-acting." To draw it faithfully and expressively, the artist has to be passionate about 
the gesture. He has to feel as if he were performing the action himself. To sit back and suppose that the 
model has done ail the work and ail we hâve to do is copy what's before us is folly. That is not the pur- 
pose of drawing from life. The purpose of drawing from life is to transmute the essence of the gesture 
into our chosen medium, drawing. Not a copy of the model, but a "paraphrase" of it — a caricature — 
after it has been filtered through our individual créative process. If we really saw what we were looking 
for, we could go into an adjoining room and draw it. Otherwise we hâve to stay before the model and 
Work at weaning ourselves from the habit of copying. 

Now, there are probably almost aiways exceptions to almost ail ruies (I almost, nearly pinned that 
statement down) and here's a good example, where both the left hip and the left shoulder are raised. It 
happens! Ruies are tools that help us, but like traffic laws, sometimes you hâve to break them to avoid 
an accident. This drawing is by Dan Boulos and is an excellent example of twisting the body to attain 
maximum tension. 

How does one "play-act" while drawing from the model? Well, in this pose you could surmise the 
girl was walking a bit to stage right when something or someone at stage left attracted her attention. 
She stops in mid-step and pulls her left shoulder abruptiy back to make a clear path for her look over 
there. It's a nice drawing and there is lots of tension generated to croate an exciting play-act situation. 
Many such story situations could be invented to "cover" the gesture. But whatever it is, it should include 
the artist's passion for storytelling. 

On the following week we had a male model. Toward the end of session we worked on heads. 
Here are two views of a subtie bit of conflict going on between the hand pulling forward on the hat 

Walt Stanchfield 107 

brim, while the neck does its part by resisting the pull. The students got ail the essential components, but 
missed the "conflict." If you glance from the student's drawing to mine several times you will see the pull 
was accomplished by changing the shapes of the hand, hat, etc. Check again and notice changes in 
the négative shapes. It's the différence between saying, "Look, l'm holding the brim of my hat," or say- 
ing, "I want my hat set at a cocky angle, and knowing how it feels at that angle, l'm shifting it around 
till I get that feeling." 

I recently clipped a quotation by Jules Henri Poincaré from the Santa Barbara News-Press v^rhich went, 
"Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science 

108 Drawn to Life 

than a heap of stones is a house." Well, this will never make the News-Press, but I tinkered with that 
quote and came up poetic: 

Hats and hands and faces 
Do not a drawing make. 

They'll need a bit of tension 
For entertainment's sake. 

I must say that there were some nice drawings made that night. Here are a few excellent examples 
of caricature and character portrayal. Each one has a flavor and charm of its own, and in each you can 
sense the churning of thought that took place as each artist rendered his or her interprétation. The first 
two are by Ellen Woodbury, and Mark Kausier. The next two are by Terri Martin, and Ed Gutierrez, who 
added a festive touch — a toy balloon — to an otherwise rather melancholic pose. Oh, I tell you, the 
gratification of drawing and acting. The ability to portray these things, to arouse an audience emotion- 
ally, and to make them laugh or cry is a wondrous thing. 

Walt Stanchfield 109 

28 ^^ 

Sketching is a way of awakening and sharpening our awareness. If our awareness is sluggish, some of 
the impressions we reçoive through our senses, which are so important to drawing, will be overlooked. 
Like watching a sunset with dark glasses on. While we are sketching, our sensibilities should be honed 
in on the meoning of, the story behind the pose. Sensibility meons, in port, "The power of responding to 
stimuli; the ability to feel. The capacity for being affected emotionally or intellectually.. .receptiveness to 
impression," especiolly first impressions. 

If you find yourself overly obsorbed in details and smoll isoloted sections of the figure, neglecting 
the real objective of drawing, you might try imogining you are o créature from some distant plonet... 
one thot hos o different form of life. So everything you see here on eorth is new to you. You con't nome 
anything...that is o button, this is o collor, etc. You join o drawing closs, and the model assumes o pose 
and ail you are aware of is the broad shapes. So you start drawing these shapes. Ail your senses reveal 
to you are the bore essentials, while the earth student next to you is struggling with the "récognition syn¬ 
drome," seeing ail the hoirs on the eyebrow, the clasp on the belt, the bumps and wrinkles on the cloth, 
the etceteras ad infinitum. If he had had a scientific background he might be looking for cells and atoms 
and other minutiae. Granted, the details of a subject are a part of it, but without that solid foundation, 
the essence of the pose, the details mean nothing. It's like the ingrédients that go into a chocolaté chip 
cookie, by themselves they are merely details. Only after the proper amount of each are mixed together 
and baked can they be called, "cookies." 

1 recently attended a lecture by a local artist, Ted Goerschner. He said he had a painting in one of 
his exhibits of a basket of eggs, one of which had fallen out and was broken in two. A scientist from 
Vandenberg Airforce Base was studying it at great length. Asked why, he replied, "Those two egg shell 
halves would never fit together." If there was any artistic or esthetic beauty in the painting, he missed it 
because of the information he allowed his senses to accept. That's not to say that the things you draw 
needn't "work", but it's the gesture you're after, not scientific accuracy. Otherwise we would never hâve 
had flying éléphants, talking mirrors, and singing teapots. 

You might aiso try imagining your audience being right there watching over your shoulder as you 
draw. Don't make them wait through a lot of laborious copying of lines and details...they want to see 
the action right now. I used to do chalk-talks for the studio and was at Disneyland on the opening day 
drawing Disney characters for the kids. If I took too long on a sketch, they would moan and groan or 
leave for something more exciting. 

If you are auditioning (l've done this, too) for a part in a stage play or a musical, the director will 
probably hâve mode his judgement in the first 10 bars of your song. So it is with drawing. The first 10 
lines in a drawing are crucial. So be bold and venturesome with your first impressions - pack them with 
action and expression. 

When you are drawing, you might aIso imagine you are a performer in a variety show and you 
want to be more spectacular, funny, or impressive thon any act that went before you (l've done that, 
aiso). It requires a little extra energy to "top" a good act. You will hâve to psyché yourself up, energize 
yourself, for complacency or hesitancy will spill over into your drawing. 

Remember, real life is your source, and it's everywhere. So carry a sketchbook at least some of the 
time. Make it a habit of sketching in the variety of places you may find yourself; restaurants, grocery 
stares, bail games, and while watching télévision. Try to get the flavor of the locale, the people (charac¬ 
ters) and their activities. And stay loosel The time to get tight and meticulous is when you are doing a 
blueprint for some délicate machine part, and, of course, in final cleanup. 

Importance of Sketching 

110 Drawn to Life 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 1 8 and 19, Bobby Ruth Mann will be modeling in the eve- 
ning classes. She will be wearing her stimulating "Hobo" costume. Here is an opportunity to hâve some 
fun, to stay loose, and though she will give you some terrifie poses to work with, you might take off on 
your own and to a little farther with the gesture. 

Below are some drawings that James Fujii did of this costume many months ago. Notice there is 
some detail, but it is handled quite casually - just enough of it to add texture to the drawing, but not 
involved enough to take his mind off the purpose of the drawing, which was, of course, capture the ges¬ 
ture. Study these drawings (but don't try to copy them). See how simple everything is drawn. The eyes 
are just slits, the nose is just a blob, the hands, though very expressive are merely suggestions. 

Walt Slanchfield 111 

Getting Emotionally Involved 

I was sitting at my desk wondering what to put in my next "handout," which from now on appears in the 
BARK. i looked up, and pinned on the windowsill is a quote I copied from I don't remember where, "It 
doesn't really wash unless you get into it emotionally." 

Isn't thot the woy it is? Whether you're tolking about sports, religion, morrioge, or coreer, it won't 
"wash" unless you get into it emotionally. There is a large following of the cuit of mediocrity these days. 
Even one of my favorite cartoon strips, "Calvin and Hobbs," jokes about surrendering to the hopeless- 
ness of attempting to improve oneself (see drawing #1 on illustration page). I forgive Will Watterson 
because it's a humorist's prérogative to poke fun at some of our shortcomings and the excuses we use 
for the way we are. But shortcomings and the way we are, are as changeable as the amount of émo¬ 
tion we agréé to expend on change...on improvement. Many people feel helplessly trapped in our 
sociological maze; our economical/educational/moral/ethical jungle. What can they do, without some 
emotional incentive, but to join the ranks of mediocrity. 

On the lighter side, here, pinned to my desk, is a quote by Robert Burne, "To err is human, and 
stupid." Here's one from today's paper, by Tallulah Bankhead. "If I had to live my life again, Td make 
the same mistakes, only sooner." And here's a good quote if you need some extra impetus for continu- 
ing sketching. Rebecca West, author, said, "/ write to find out about things." We could appiy that to 
sketching, couidn't we? Read this excerpt from one of her books. She is writing about a lynch trial, 
but includes this little gem for color. "The Bible belonging to Creenville Country Court House is in ter¬ 
rible shape. Like many Bibles, it has a flounce, or valance, of leather protecting its edges, and this is 
torn and crumbling, while its boards are cracked, and no small wonder. Its quietest hours are when 
it is being sworn upon; at any other time it is likely to be snatched up from the small stand on which it 
rests, which is like that used for potted plants in some homes, and waved in the air, held to an attor- 
ney's breast, thrust out over the jury box, and hurled to its resting place in a convulsion of religious 

How beautifully and descriptively she créâtes a little "story" about this book. That's what I mean 
when I speak of creating a story around a model's pose before you being to sketch. And notice how in 
just describing a book, Rebecca West uses action words like, "torn and crumbling," "cracked," "hurled 
back," "in a convulsion..." Ail that, what could be called, "story telling," about a mere book! Should we 
not then aiso find ways to make out drawings corne to life...tell a story? 

In a charming little book entitled, " A Life In Hand," a book suggesting ways to start an illustrated 
journal, Hannah Hinchman, aptiy says about gesture drawing; 

Another exercise involves a way of drawing that will sharpen your ability to see and glean 
essentials quickly, a usefui skill in the field where animais and light conditions change. The term 
is gesture drawing, and applies to you making the gestures of drawing as well as the gestures 
made by whatever you are looking at. 

Everything has its own unique gesture: the table's "tableness", the crow's "crowness." When 
you get to people or animais or things you know well as individuals, the quality gets even more 
spécifie, belong only to him, her or it. Drawing can find and record the gestures: in fact, such 
récognition is at the heart of ail truly great drawing. 

As you start to learn gesture drawing, speed it essentiel because it is so easy to be led 
astray by peripheral details. Later, you will be able to get at the same gesture in a more deliber- 
ate way, but for now speed will help you eut through the essential. 

112 Drawn fo Life 

Walt Stanchfield 113 

On the illustration page are a couple of correction/suggestion sketches mode in the last gesture 
class. See if you can see the thinking behind my corrections. If I may borrow Hannah's "tableness," 
and "crowness," in describing a thing's essence, these then are a character's, "lookness," and "leaning- 
forwardness," (drawing #2 and 3). Then there is a drawing where the student spent too much time and 
energy on the head, missing out on the benefits found in the overall gesture. After ail, the head shape 
and head attitude work in unison with the body - you can't draw one without knowing what the other is 
doing (see drawing #4). 

Now for the last drawing. This is by Cynthia Overman. A very nice drawing. It is simple, expres¬ 
sive, loose; it has lots of twist, tension, weight, clarity, and a light touch to boot. 

It really pays to get emotionally involved! 

Gesture Further Pursued 

I don't think it's too early to mention an upcoming picture with lots of animais in it — King of the Jungle. 
Studying and sketching animais is in line, even as you work on Aladdin, or any other project. So keep 
up your sketching of people, but aiso let a little animal sketching overlap, so to speak. There will be an 
attempt to bring in some jungle-type animais for study so keep a suppiy of adrénaline handy. And to 
pique your créative craving, I am printing some delightfui animal sketches by Dan Boulos, James Fujii, 
and Terri Martin (order is according to alphabet, not skill - see the drawing section.) 

In the gesture class on March 3 & 4, we had Wendy Werner and her charming dog, Abbey, pose 
for us. It was a delight! The dog is a Lhasa Apso, a Tibetan guard dog. Its ancestors were stationed on 
the towers, where with their acute hearing, they would detect approaching intruders and bark - waking 
up the larger and more capable guard dogs. I apologize for not knowing this at class time, for an artist 
should know everything possible about whatever or whoever he draws. I asked the class to forego trying 
to draw a girl and a dog, but rather to draw the relationship between the two. I suggested they try for 
just the essential inter-relationship that, in effect, amounted to one pose. I suggested they think of it as an 
assignment where they were to capture the gesture only - then there would be enough information there 
to finish up the drawing at some later date. I reasoned that getting their minds off drawing "things," i.e., 
heads, arms, etc., they would then go straight for the gesture - and that is exactiy what they did. 

I was so proud of Grant Hiestand, I am reproducing 1 2/3 pages of his sketches. Keep in mind, 
these were constantly moving targets. The artists had to employ their short term memories to grasp the 
whole picture and get it down before some new pose, that seemed more interesting, caught their fancy. 
The adrénaline flowed or you got nothing. This is one reason why I keep harping on carrying a sketch 
book with you. It develops a quickness of hand and eye. And this is most important, it will help you 
envision poses and actions when there is no model to work from - which is the normal State of affairs 
at Disney. 

And of course I can't pass up an opportunity to share a critique with you. Here's a student's drawing 
of Wendy and Abbey relaxing in a chair. The "story" behind the pose is, "Wendy and Abbey relaxing 
in a chair." Does this suggest anything to you? Of course it does. And if you had thought of it as you 

114 Drawn (o Life 

began to draw, you no doubt would hâve tried to portray that very fhing. If on the ofher hond you some- 
how get involved in drowing fhings, i.e., heads, orms, chairs, etc., you would hâve lost the basic pur- 
pose of the drowing. Next to the student's drowing is nny suggestion for "Wendy and Abbey relaxing," 
(lost drowing in drowing section.) 

I left out the choir in my sketch, but exploined loter thot even o choir is port of the gesture os is ony 
prop. A choir will either resist or submit to o sitter depending on the story point. In animation there is 
no such thing os on inonimote object - everything contributes to the story. To corry the thought o step 
beyond, consider the choir designers and monufocturers - they produce chairs to either relax in or to 
moke 0 person sit up and remain olert. Even so, in animation an object like a chair can change its func- 
tion at will. As Shakespeare might hâve said, "The story's the fhing." 

Remember, whenever a prop like a chair is used in connection with a character, there is a relation- 
ship formed. As in the case of Wendy and Abbey, you might say that the relationship has gone beyond 
just a prop and has become a personal attachment - a bond. In such a case, you search for ways to 
portray that bond. But whether personal or impersonal, the prop becomes a part of the gesture. There 
are two actors, but just one pose. 

I contend that it is infinitely easier to make a drowing if there is a story established in your mind. 
The verbal description of the gesture aiways suggests ways to bring about the drowing. Even as you 
inwardiy voice the components of the pose, the very words will evoke the kind of line or the position- 
ing of the parts that is best suited to your interprétation. Especially is this true when you emphasize the 
verbs: the model is bending, twisting, leaning, sitting, reading, etc. It is ail compounded when you say: 
bending in an epileptic convulsion, a sudden twisting motion, leaning precariousiy, or sitting attentively. 

Even subtie gestures deserve full attention: a person gracefully bends forward, a barely discernible 
twist to her body, leaning almost imperceptibly, sitting as if a part of the chair, etc. 

Famous Amos, one of my inspirational idols, was not thinking of drowing when he said, "When 
you begin to examine life more by taking time to see and feel what is happening, your imagination will 
begin to expand." But for our purposes - it can be applied to drowing. As a matter of fact, seeing and 
feeling is the very heart of gesture drowing. So maybe xerox that quote 10 times larger and pin it on 
your desk... 

Walt Stanchfield 11 5 

116 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 117 

Terri Martin 

118 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 119 


I hâve been anxious to do a handout on caricature. I realize it is such a broad and nebulous subject that 
it can hardiy be pinned down to a teachable art. So being inadequately prepared, but loving a chal¬ 
lenge — here goes! 

In the first place, caricature has lost a lot of its meaning by having been identified almost exclusively 
with the drawing of funny likenesses. i recently went to my local library in Solvang to check out a book 
on the subject. In it there were no drawings below the neck. Yet actually, caricaturing the face is but 
one small facet of the art. The word caricature was derived from the Italian or French word, caricatura, 
meaning satirical picture, literally an overloading; or caricare, to load, exaggerate, i.e., greatly distort. 
The exaggeration can be humorous or corny or weird. At any rate it does not just appiy to the face. 
Therefore, we who are interested in gesture, appiy the meaning to the v/hole body or the relationship 
between two or more bodies. Regardiess of the origin of the word, the important thing is the idea of 
exaggeration. Not just for the sake of exaggeration, but to extract every bit of personality or action 
from a gesture that will best portray your character's spécial traits, whether it's Beauty of Beouty and the 
Beast, or Roger Rabbit. 

One of the most obvious geniuses of caricature is Al Hirschfeld. But even he can't tell how he cap¬ 
tures likeness. When asked how he does it, he said he is "...reduced to blubbering nonsense." 

Hirschfeld was influenced by having lived in Bali, where everything seemed to suggest itself in line 
and where he suddenly discovered that there's a kind of magic to line. He was influenced by Harunobu, 
Utamaro, and Hokusai. (See Hokusai drawings below.) An interesting thought by Hirschfeld: "A paint- 
ing or drawing that doesn't help the next fellow is of no use. It ceases to be a work of art." He said, 
"Javanese shadow puppets impressed me enormousiy as well. They just throw shadows onto a screen; 
the black and white design is exaggerated, almost caricatured, whatever that means." 

So from the "horse's mouth" you get nothing by the way of intellectual explanation — only perhaps 
inspiration. I like this statement of his: "I hâve aiways loved to draw the explosive kind of actor, the ones 
who never closed the door. They slammed it." And, "I hâve never been able to convince anyone of the 
simple fact that caricature and beauty are the same to a caricaturist." 

One of the things that helped Hirschfeld in caricature was to liken a person's features or appear- 
ance or expression to something that sparked an association, for instance, his nose looks like a sau- 
sage, or his hoir looks like spaghetti. For some of Hirschfeld's drawings see below. 

We hâve some extremely skilled caricaturists in our midst here at the studio. I hesitate to mention 
any names, but the only ones I talked to about it, and then only briefly, were Eric Goldberg and Glen 
Keane. They, like Hirschfeld, could not pin down the process, but suggested that there has to be an 
emotional involvement. This is akin to my suggestion in the gesture class to talk to yourself as you draw, 
saying, "This is doing such and such; and the heart of this pose is..." You simpiy hâve to involve your 
deepest feelings — or there will be no depth to your efforts. 

As you might surmise, there is no sure way of learning caricature. I think it has to do with the desire 
to entertain. A caricaturist (my définition is one who is good at gesture drawing) merely "overloads" his 
drawing so it stands out as the epitome of whatever he is portraying. Especially for the cartoonist — 
and after ail we are ail cartoonists. We are dispensers of joy, happiness, entertainment, amusement, 
pleasure, etc. You, in a word, hâve a mission as a cartoonist/artist to entertain your audience. This is 
a serious calling. Not one that requires a long face and grave attitude, but one that requires you to see 
and draw the light side of life (or whatever the script calls for). We can't ail be a Goya or a Koliwitz's. 
So for heaven's sake lighten up! Enjoy drawing! Assume the rôle of entertainer! Relax and get out of 

120 Drawn to Life 

yourself and inside your characters! Transport them from the mundane into the odd, bizarre, ridiculous, 
farfetched, romantic, visionary, fancifui — whateverl That is caricature — that is drawing! 

Another great contemporary caricaturist is Ronald Searle, some of whose drawings are reproduced 
below. It seems that his ability to caricature stems from his outlandish "British" sense of humor, and his 
either sympathetic or merciless views of his fellow mon. Maybe neither — maybe his view is trufh, or at 
least one extremely perceptive interprétation of it. After ail, when you are caricaturing or telling a story, 
you hâve to stick to character. The characters in our cartoons hâve to remain incorruptible, so that, good 
or bad, we can believe in them. In Searle's case, his characters are having something revealed about 
themselves — not aiways (perhaps never) flattering. Although from the viewer's standpoint, they are 
often not only humorous, but aiso poignant, pathetic, sad, even heart-rending. Whichever, his drawings 
are aiways very incisive. 

Notice especially that Searle's caricatures are not of famous people or celebrities, so the likenesses 
in that respect do not matter. Faces, bodies, props, personalities, and attitudes are the subject. He is 
making a statement — a caricatured statement about the people he is drawing. Notice too, that the set- 
tings, the props, the gestures, ali contribute to the subject's character (the story). 

In our gesture class (and in our regular studio work) we hâve the opportunity to use such masters as 
Hokusai, Hirschfeld, and Searle as a kind of technical and inspirational guide. Not to copy their tech¬ 
niques but to reassure ourselves of the importance of caricature, as opposed to copying the model in 
class or tracing live action in animation. 

Walt Stanchfield 121 


122 Drawn to Life 


mmmmw JB 

Walt Stanchfield 123 

124 Drawn to Life 

In the last noontime drawing session there were mony drawings mode that impressed me as much 
as the pros 1 spoke about earlier. I confiscated a few from James Fujii, Francis Glebas, and Jane Krupka 
to share with you. In my crusade to suggest that caricature is synonymous with gesture, I would hâve 
you view these drawings as perfect examples of caricature. They go beyond just caricaturing someone's 
face, they accomplish what every animator must do daily — caricature of action. 


You may recall me mentioning a tendency to straighten everything up in a drawing. You know, the 
crooked-picture-on-the-wall phobia. This tendency goes beyond straightening things up horizontally and 
vertically, but aiso depth-wise. That would be like taking the lines in Plate la and straightening them up 
like Plate 1 b, which you can see, destroys ail illusion of depth. 

Walt Stanchfield 125 

I am relentless in my crusade against this kind of seeing and drawing. You ail hâve at least some 
knowledge of perspective, but sometimes the mind wanders and you fail to make use of what you do 
know. To further complicate matters — beyond just knowing the ruies, you hâve to carefully observe 
|and feel) the pose so that you can fit the two together. So much dépends on perspective — not just 
what is called linear perspective (see Plate 3), which is a System for linear depiction of three dimensions, 
but aiso what I will call Spatial Perspective. (There may be a more spécifie term, but I am not aware of 
one.) In drawing human or animal figures, which are loaded with complicated planes, there would be 
so many vanishing points you would need a computer to keep track of them. But take heart, there is a 
simpler method, thanks to Bruce Mcintyre, former Disney Studios artist and subséquent drawing instruc- 
tor. This method involves a few very simple ruies which, once understood, are easy to appiy, effective, 
and fun to use. I refer to one or more of them often in the evening gesture class critiques. (If you'd like a 
more in-depth analysis of these ruies, let me know — l'Il make an effort to work something up.) Here in 
Plate 2 are the six principles perspective. 




Q O Q __ 

Si-ze UtÆ'S 

126 Drawn to Life 

Three of those rules are illustrated in Plate 4. 

Plate 4a Plate 4b 

Take the hands first. They illustrate the second ruie (see Plate 2), Diminishing Size. The hand far- 
thest away being the snnaliest. Next, the left hand overlapping the forearm, the forearm overlapping the 
upper arm, the shoulder overlapping the chest area, the front of the neck overlapping the far shoulder — 
ail illustrate the fourth ruIe, Overlop. The way the forearm delineates the contour of the arm as it over- 
laps the upper arm, and the left shoulder follows the contour as it overlaps at the trapezius muscle, illus¬ 
trâtes the fifth ruie. Surface Lines. Plate 4b further explains the Surface Lines ruie. 

The last ruie, Foreshortening, is présent everywhere in every third dimensional drawing. It should 
be felt rather than diagrammed, although at times, a few perspective lines may help. Here Donald dem- 
onstrates how that particular perspective ruie has been pushed to great extremes. This is called forced 
perspective, and is universally accepted as normal. 


Wolf Stanchfield 127 

Ootpemt fwjwnw 

livtn or ult(tr4 ihdpe 

koTi'JU Rrtf vP 




Okay, now for the drawing that instigated ail this. In Plate 6a is a student's drawing which is about 
98% two-dimensional. Next to it in Plate 6b, I show how the artist must hâve envisioned himself on a 
crâne which lifted him up and down so he could get a straight-on view of everything. 

Plate 6a 

128 Drown to Life 

This approach to drawing either displays an ignorance of the ruies of perspective, or a lazy 
approach to drawing. The thing is, perspective is so much a part of drawing that an artist cannot 
neglect mastering it. Putting off learning it only prolongs the agony. Then of course, once you hâve it, 
you will joyfully exclaim, "Oh, how sweet it is." 

Here is my correction sketch of that drawing (Plate 7a). Next to it is a chart which shows how the 
eye saw it from a waist high vantage point — no crânes (Plate 7b). Then in Plate 7c, I hâve translated 
what the eye sees into the ruie of perspective, Foreshorfening. 

Plate 7c 

Plate 7a 

So many things to think abouti (Pity poor me who has so few brain cells left.) Anyway, we wouidn't hâve 
half as much fun if we could just sit back and draw by the numbers, as my cartoon. Plate 8 postulâtes. 

It's Mr. Stanchfield at the Disney Studios. He wants to know if you will pose for his gesture class... 

Hâve Somefhing fo Say and 
Keep It Simple 

Walt Stgnchfield 129 

My friends, today's suggestion is to adopt a simple approach when drawing from a model. Especially 
now during the annual "push" when you hâve so many work related things on your mind. l'm proud of 
you who corne to the evening gesture class in spite of your tight schedule. Anyway, the more compli- 
cated you drow, the more tense and bogged down you become. There's nothing wrong with capturing 
a pose with a simple drawing. How about trying something as simple as this. 

With a simple drawing, you can get the gesture in seconds, and being simple, you can adjust it eas- 
ily, "nudging" the drawing here and there to strengthen the action of the pose. And you can draw fairly 
complicated gestures with that simple a figure. 

130 Drawn to Life 

it would be extremely difficult to draw any gesture in a realistic style if, for you, the pose is fiord 
to understond or the meoning (the story) is murky. The best of models often strike uncleor or puzzling 
poses, l'm not soying, don't strive for thot "perfect" drowing — it will corne. But in the meontime pré¬ 
paré yourself in the art of gesture so that when that perfect drawing does corne, it (they) will be more 
thon just photographie likenesses — it will be a vehicle of communication between you (the artist/story- 
teller) and viewer (the audience). 

I don't mean to suggest that you reduce drawing to a formula, but it will greatly help to reduce the 
complicated figure and drapery to a manageable minimum. After ail, any drawing, no matter how 
realistic, is not the real thing — it is just a symbol of the real. So, if some simple symbols are used, a 
reasonably good drawing will still be possible. It's likely too, that the simpler the drawing — the clearer 
the gesture. 

Certainly, it will be easier for the artist to accomplish a good gesture drawing if he does not get 
captivated by the complications of the parts and the details. A big part of an artist's skill is leaving out 
what doesn't matter and accenting what does matter. 

My theory is that when you draw simpiy, but capture a good gesture, you can use that gesture at a 
future date for a final drawing. But if you copy some of the details of the figure but miss the gesture — 
you cannot reconstruct the missing gesture at some future date. 

Remember you are not just making a drawing — you are making a drawing of an action, by a par- 
ticular character that is performing that action. Like a few weeks ago in the gesture class, we had Craig 
Howell, a great model, as a "waiter." But not just any waiter, this one was slightiy portiy, stoop-shoul- 
dered, double-chinned, and spindly-legged. (Doesn't that help form a picture in your mind and make 
you want to draw him?) 

But there is more! He was very professional in manner, proud of his calling and his expertise — 
proud to the point of arrogance — even disdain. You who were there may recall he was rather over- 
bearing to one of the students who posed with him. 

He was easy to caricature because he was obviousiy trying to be the typical waiter. 

Those are some of the things that are good to hâve in mind as you draw a character doing some- 
thing. Just relying on "inspiration" won't aiways work. That would be like trying to drive to some 
unknown (to you) address in New York by inspiration alone. 

So remember today's suggestion: Hâve something to say, and keep it simple. 

Here is one student's drawing with my correction from that evening. The waiter was holding a menu 
and suggesting something délectable to the customer. The student began to draw the éléments before 
him — the head, torso, arms, and menu. They are ail there and there is no doubt about what they are. 

Walt Slanchfield 131 

But, the story is the waiter is making contact with the customer, and though unseen, you should feel that 
there is a custonner présent. In my correction sketch, I pulled the menu out of the way of the look, so you 
could feel the "contact." Actually, it's not just a "feeling," it's an actuality taking place. The spotting of 
such a fact should help to mobilize ail your drawing skills to put over the story, i.e., act out the story in 
drawing form. 

Here is a drawing problem from a couple of weeks ago. It brings to light the need to "expérience" 
the pose personally. I hâve used a simplified drawing, necessarily, for I do these in about 5 or 1 0 sec¬ 
onds, but as you can see I was therefore not hindered by details and was able to express my ideas 
in a free manner. The model had a box, which he has indicated is extremely heavy. To emphasize 
(caricature) this he is supporting the weight on his midsection, which is suspended between his left arm 
and his right knee. The student not only did not "expérience" the weight of the heavy box — he didn't 
even show it (the whole idea of the pose!), l'm saying, rather thon bock off on a pose, push it farther. 
Caricature it so it will read. Your audience, uniess they are students of anatomy, are not interested in 
muscles, they are interested in story and action. Am I too rough on you? 

132 Drown to Life 

Writing is another form of communication which like drawing should be simple and to the point. 
I recently came across this example of gobbledygook (unintelligible jargon) in The Writer's Art, by James 
Kilpatrick. This was a message from a high school principle to the student's parents: 

Our school's cross-graded, multi-ethnic, individualized learning program is designed to enhance 
the concept of an open-ended learning program with emphasis on a continuum of multi-ethnic 
enriched learning using the identified intellectually gifted child as the agent or director of his own 
learning. Major emphasis is on cross-graded, multi-ethnic learning with the main objective being 
to learn respect for the uniqueness of a person. 

You still there? 

I want to go on and on but must keep these handouts to somewhat reasonable lengths, so until the 

Keeping Flexibility in Your Drawing 

I hope a lot of you hâve taken advantage of the anatomy classes with Steve Huston. Furthering your 
knowledge of this important essential in drawing is to your lifelong advantage. Anatomy is fascinating. 
It is wonderfully complicated, yet incredibly simple if, when you draw, you concentrate on character 
and gesture rather than muscles and bones. Study muscles from ail different angles and learn how they 
adjust to each action. You don't want your drawings to look like they just came from the freezer — ail 
muscles frozen and unable to adjust themselves to each action. Fortunately (or mercifully) those stringy 
muscle fibers hâve been coated with loyers of drawable fat, flesh, and skin. 

When drawing from the model it is easy to misinterpret the pose and see it as inactive or static, 
even lifeless. So you must keep reminding yourself that it is an action — an action held long enough for 
you to draw. If it were possible we would hâve the model high jumping or turning somersaults, but due 
to gravity we hâve to limit the poses to less active action, but nevertheless, action. 

For instance, if you are drawing a person stretching both arms forward, you hâve to look at it from 
the standpoint of an action, not just a "still life." 

Let 's go to the other extreme so we can see the action happening. Here is the same guy with arms 
stretched backwards. Notice how the stomach protrudes, which is a naturel and necessary move for the 

Walt Stanchfield 133 

If you will look from one drawing to the other you will see the action (animation) take place. 
Looking down at this action, it would appear something like this. 

So when you see a gesture, try to imagine where the action came from, so you can feel which mus¬ 
cles are being stretched and how the parts of the body around them are affected; that is, how they take 
part in the action. Again, look from drawing to drawing and see how pliable those parts are. They are 
not rigid and unyielding (though the model is still for the pose) but are very elastic, supple, and limber. 

If you get too tied up in construction, muscles, bones, and drapery (necessary though they are), you 
might end up with a stiff drawing as if of a wooden puppet. 

It may move but it has no life in it, and what we are after is life. 

Every action has some kind of opposing action, or opposing force in it, as you saw in the very first 
illustration. For instance if one arm was pointing, the other arm would counter it in some way. Or even 
the body might lean forward or backward for emphasis. 

134 Drawn to Life 

The action would not be so sfrong if both arms came forward or if the body didn't react. 

Walking is an obvions example of opposing forces. As the left arm stretches forward, the right arm 
stretches bock. This is not a mechanical thing — it's a very flexible move — the arms bend and tilt, the 
legs bend and stretch, and the body leans and twists. 

So by ail means, study anatomy. It is the basis for ail drawing. But keep in mind how the bones and 
muscles contribute to the hundreds of possible nuances of motion. Even the head, which is mostly bone, 
is treated like soft clay in cartooning. 

Walt Stanchfield 135 

Recently we had R. C. Bâtes pose for us. What a greaf model! He did a WWII pilot and a pros¬ 
pecter. He set the stage for many a stimulating story vignette. I saved one correction drawing, one that 
points up an oft missed opportunity; that is, when a character assumes an attitude that requires his stom- 
ach te protrude. So many times the artist gets the upper body angle, but when drawing the lower body 
he seems to forget the pose and cornes straight down with the legs, overlooking the stomach's gestural 
capabilities. In my sketch can you see an arrogance, pompousness, or maybe just a little swaggering or 
maybe a Hitler-like contemptuousness? That's what gesture drawing is ail about! 

There were many excellent drawings mode that night, but in my estimation. Mark Kausier seemed to 
be especially sensitive te R.C.'s poses. Here are several of his drawings. 

136 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 137 

Seeing and Drawing the Figure in 

Isn't this a beauty! Of course, you'd hâve to go out of your way to drow something so third dimen- 
sionolly screwed up. Even a non-ortist could corne doser to reality thon thot, becouse a box is a relo- 
tively simple form. A box takes place in space, and as we draw it, it's easy to think of it as occupying 
space, especially with the help of some elementary perspective. 

The human (or animal) shape exists aiso in space, and though much more complicated, the idea of 
it displacing space is the same. However, quite often when drawing from a model (or from real life) we 
switch into a different mode thon when drawing a box. With a box, it's easy to see the space inside 
and around the shape, but with the more complicated human figure that aspect is not so obvious. 

Let's try to establish a clear concept of seeing the figure in space by using what might be called the 
"shock" treatment. Here is a screen with a two-dimensional shadow of a figure cast on it. 

138 Drawn to Life 

Now the screen is suddeniy pulled away and there before us, without 3D glasses, is the same figure 
in glorious 3D. (Drawing by 3D advocate, Mike Swofford; modeled by third dimensional Allison Mosa.) 

Look from drawing to drawing and you can see it happen. That gratifying and fascinating reaiiza- 
tion of 3D that overwheims you — which should be your normal realization at ail times while drawing. 
Superimposing the box onto the figure illustrâtes how they both relate to space in a similar woy. 

Actually this can be done in the mind's eye, so that you are drawing the figure in that imagined 
space. One thing that is impérative when drawing a figure or a cartoon in a scene of animation is to be 
aware of the "grid" that the layout department has established. That grid is like a vinyl tile floor, whose 
lines ail proceed to one of two vanishing points. Not checking the layout for that perspective before 
starting to animate, cleanup, or inbefween a scene is one of the cardinal sins of animation. Putting it in 
a more positive way, that grid (perspective) is one of the principle means of laying in or establishing the 

Walt Stanchfield 139 

Foundation for a bockground. "Follow the Yellow Brick Rood" when you hâve time to dreom — but while 
drowing — follow the "grid." 

■ moy help to think of a figure as enclosed in on invisible box, subject, of course, to your viewpoint. 

This is not to be thought of os a prop, but os a concept thot will oid you in any third dimensionol 
drawing you will ever moke. It's a kind of drowing grommor. In writing, grammor deals with the forms 
and structures of words and their arrangement in phrases and sentences (syntax). So "drawing gram- 
mar" deals with forms and structures and their arrangement, not in phrases and sentences, but in third 
dimensionol space. 

Circles, incidentally, although good for locating things on the page, are not much help in revealing 
the illusion of 3D. Here are four views of a tennis bail. 

140 Drawn to Life 





Next is an attempt to illustrate how important seeing things in space is by using the box Symbol. These 
are some old drawings that were used for other reasons but will work for this démonstration. There 
will be a student's drawing, accompanied by a "box" drawing, showing his perspective. Then there 
will be my correction drawing with a "box" drawing to show how perspective can enhance the illusion 
of space. 

Wok Stanchfield 141 

142 Drown to Life 

Granted, it's easy to analyze another person's drawing, but by the same token it is extremely difficult to 
analyze one's own drawing. That is why we must form some useable concepts of gesture, proportion, bal¬ 
ance, etc., in space, so that we can see those good things as we draw. Just moving the pen or pencil around 
the surface of the paper, no matter how intense our desire for a good drawing, is simpiy not enough. 

Don't Let the Facts Get in the 
Way of a Good Drawing 

On the Channel 5 morning newscast, weatherman Mark Cristi related an amusing story, but couidn't 
remember the name of the person he was quoting. Barbara Beck, anchor woman, said, "Mark never 
lets the facts get in the way of a good story." It was a good story and whether the person quoted was 
Rodney Dangerfield or Prince Charles, it wouidn't hâve added or taken away from the comical twist. 
(The story was about some older mon who had gotten his much younger wife prégnant so she would 
hâve a playmate.) 

Here is a paraphrase of that line: "...don't let the facts get in the way of a good drawing." Ail the 
facts in the world are only "grist" waiting for a good story. Or to look at it from another angle, "A good 
story just needs enough facts to give it a vehicle for expression." 

In other words, when you draw, draw the story (or the gesture) and allow just enough facts to creep 
in to give your pen something to do. It's something like the guy who was photographing with no film in 
his caméra. He didn't need factual proof that he was taking beautifui pictures — he could see what he 
was getting in his view finder. 

Many years ago Stan Green stepped into Milt Kahi's room and said: "Such-and-such-a-scene has 
corne back from caméra — it's on the Moviola, do you want to see it?" Milt said, "Hell, no. I animated 
it. I know what it looks like." Well... it may be a long time before some of us will be that confident (or 
that conceited), but you might take a hint from one of the "masters"; that is, know what your drawing 
looks like before you start detracting from the story with too many facts. You know what a lot of floun- 
dering and superfluous words can do to a joke's punch line. 

Ruth Rendell, British détective story writer, said she doesn't research the mechanics of policedom for 
her stories, "I find if you do it consciousiy (rely on facts) it doesn't work." Well, in drawing you do hâve 
to be conscious of the gesture and the story. Most other conscious effort should be done in an anatomy 
class or curled up with a good anatomy book, remembering aiways that what a muscle does (verb) is 
more important than its construction (noun). 

Keep your drawings vital, zestfui, and entertaining by drawing verbs not nouns. A list of verbs 
should be enough to convince you of their importance: twist, bend, stretch, run, jump; look, store, be 
surprised, be mad, be coy; sit, lay, lean — the list goes on and on and encompasses ail the activities 
that a story might require. Nouns are facts: a belt buckie, a shirt, a hairdo, eyes, or a mouth. Writer 
Joséphine Tey recognized the principle of facts versus content (story). In her book The Daughfers of Time, 
she has one of her characters comment on a portrait of Richard III, "Whatever it is, it is a face, isn't it! 
Not just a collection of organs for seeing, breathing, and eating with...." 

A couple of weeks ago Tom Sito, one of our favorite people and certainly one of our best models, 
posed for the evening classes. As a civil war officer, he amused us with lines like (through clenched 
teeth that held a cigar), "Forget it General, l'm not going up that hill — it's too dangerous." Anyway, 
Tina Price, who has renewed her interest in drawing and possibly animation, did some nice drawing 

Walt Stanchfield 143 

144 Drown to Life 

Allow me to présent a couple of critiques, which were désignée! to open up some reveoling vistas of 
Creative prowess. One student began his drawing with something that obviousiy foscinoted him — the 
box that the model was holding out in front of her body. I suggested that perhaps if he drew the body 
attitude first, he would then be free to manipulate the arms and box to the greatest possible advantage 
(staging). Store at my suggestion of a figure and let your imagination play with various possibilités for 
the arms and box. You can extend them, hold them close to the body, tip the box to show the audience 
what's in it or hold it up high as an offering to some deity. On the other hand, look at student's drawing 
and try to do the same with the body. The choices for variations are few. 

Here is another one where the model was about to pick up the box. In the student's drawing, the 
twinning of the arms is rather static and leads nowhere. In my suggestion sketch, I angled the arms and 
hands in a way that suggests a movement toward the box. Ail the éléments are arranged to concentrate 
your attention on the action, which is — preparing to pick up the box. 

Walt Stanchfield 145 

Here is Tom Sito as a Russian — with one of those black cossack hats on and a sword close at 
hand, looking for the enemy — but occording to James Fujii, finding something much more welcome 
thon some opposing militory force. 

Look at Me ... Look at Me! 

How excited children get when they strike o pose, perform some feot, or do onything thot seems worth 
shoring or brogging about. If you don't look, they screom louder, "LOOK AT ME... LOOK AT ME!" It's 
some rare or spécial moment that will last for only a few seconds and it's just got to be savored, and the 
onlooker plays a vital part in the excitement of the occasion by experiencing it, too. 

I think when a model cornes to our drawing class to pose they are, in effect, saying "Look at me... 
look at me!" (Or perhaps, "Draw me, draw me!") So we look at them, and we expérience the excite¬ 
ment of the moment, and we attempt to record it for still others to see, and our senses are sharpened by 
the responsibility to convey the gesture in its fullest measure. 

Here are some words that cover the whole process — exciting, breathtaking, spine-tingling, impel- 
ling, sfimulafing, thrilling — and furthermore, when one gets excited, one is aroused, energized, fired- 
up, and inspired. Now this is not to say that you hâve to turn into a human tornado as you draw — but 
it does mean that if you are not experiencing these things, in some measure — you are missing out on 
something. (And so are your drawings, probably.). Let me try to convey that promise by presenting some 
critiques wherein you may see where the excitement 1 experienced over the poses helped to croate the 
illusion that the model was indeed saying, "Look at me... look at mel" 

146 Drawn to Life 

In fhis first example, the student's drawing indecisively shows the model (Kevin Smifh — a great 
model) pulling his leg into a folded position. But octuolly, his leg was olready folded and he was 
stretched bock, relaxing — as you can see in my sketch. The exciting thing was, if his hands slipped off 
his ankles, he would hâve fallen over backwards. That is excitingl It is suspensefui — there is a kind of 
iffy tension there. I projected his nose (head) forward for counterbalance, and aiso, to suggest his inner 
concern — his body enjoying the precariousiy relaxed position, but Kevin thinking, "Boy, I hope my 
hands don't slip." Whatever story you décidé to fabricate, try to make it a "Look at me!" pose. 

Some days you wish you'd stayed in bed. In the drawing below, the student, who ordinarily draws 
quite well, was searching desperately for some "handle" to grab on to. I suggested, as aiways, to first 
form some kind of a story — there could be any number of them for each pose — and go for if. In 
my critique sketch, I chose to create a stage where the arms form the right and left extremes, with ail 
the action taking place on center stage. The action was looking intently at his hands holding on to his 
ankles, which in turn créâtes the impression that he is in deep thought. You can feel a three-dimensional 
area (arena) of "charged" space there. I call that the "stage." Stages are exciting — look for them in ail 
poses and gestures. 

Talk about excitement. You can imagine the excitement I was enjoying while drawing this next cor¬ 
rection sketch. The sketch took about 10 or 15 seconds. You can't sustain that pitch of excitement much 
longer than that. l'm kidding. You can. Ask any animator and they will assure you that when they get 
involved and excited while working on a scene, every drawing produces a "high," and time seems to 
disappear as they translate story into drawing. 

Look at these drawing below and try to imagine the story behind each of them. My interprétation of the 
student's drawing is "Let's see, shall I go farther forward... or bock up a bit... or maybe I had better stay 
right here." The thought behind my sketch is "Hey, this pose has been done before — but l'm going to do it 
better — with more stretch, with more pizzazz. If there is an ultimate to this pose — l'm going to make a dar- 
ing attempt to reach it. I want my drawing to look like it's saying, "Hey, look at me... look at me!" 

Walt Stanchfield 147 

You should aiways keep in mind that the model's présentation of the pose is not socred — it's only 
O suggestion for you to do with os you see fit. What you gef ouf of the pose is what you put into it. Thot 
meons thot if you're sotisfied with it os is, you con go oheod and moke o photographie copy of it. But 
if you get your octor/self emotionolly involved, you are then free to carry the pose to a more dramatic 

On the following page is another high-level-excitement pose. The student has mode a fairly power- 
ful looking drawing — parts of which are very well done. But the character seems to be saying, "Hurry 
up and change the pose. My shoulders are killing me." In my sketch you can see that I put myself in 
the model's place and was attempting to push to a "Hey, look at me!" type pose. It just requires a little 
touch of exhibitionism — a bit of childlike abandon. Sometimes we may be tired or feel a little sedate or 
mellow or reserved, so it may require a little mental goose to bring ourselves up to a more exciting, feel- 
good-about-yourself-hey-look-at-me level. 

In the Illusion of Life, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, there are many references to faithfully 
drawing the thoughts or émotions of the characters. Some suggest that no matter how good a drawing is, 
if it doesn't faithfully portray the émotions of the character it is worthless. "One young animator," they sug¬ 
gest, "was quite shaken by the criticism of his scenes. The best drawing in the world wouidn't hâve helped 
because it would still be empty; it was because of the emptiness in the business that they criticized the 
scenes." He went on to explain, "I can't make a drawing until I know what l'm trying to draw." 

A pertinent suggestion in the book is "Resist the temptation to tell too much in one drawing. The 
important thing is that the drawing be quickly read. No matter how beautifully it may be drawn, it 
should not be forced into a scene if it does not animate properly. Do not be afraid to discord your best 
drawing if it does not fit your action. It is the idea that is important (emphasis mine)." 

Walt Disney was keen on getting the appropriate graphie portrayal of the character's émotion. When 
someone is lifting a heavy weight, what do you feel? Do you feel something is liable to crack any minute 
and drop down? Do you feel that because of the pressure he's going to blow up? That his face is going 
to turn purple? That his eyes are going to bulge out of their sockets? That the tension in the arm is so ter¬ 
rifie that he's going to snap? 

148 Drown fo Life 

Do you feel that same intensity of concern for your drowings? (Ail of them?) Con you imagine 
Laurence Olivier or Bette Midier rendering only an unthinking, aimless, or lackadaisical performance? 
Well, you are a performer just as they are. Think about it... 

A gesture may be subtie, such as someone in peacefui relaxation, but that does not mean the draw- 
ing has to be lifeless — without tension or balance and counterbalance. The drawing must look like the 
character is olive and thinking, and the only v/ay to accomplish that is for you, the artist, to think about 
what you want the character to appear to be thinking. 

in this next example, the student's drawing is inactive but not relaxed. In my correction sketch, he is 
active but relaxed. i hâve the character bending forward (action), stretching his arms forward (action), 
gently leaning on his knees (action), and his neck stretched forward, while his face is angled up to see 
forward (actions). You might say he is actively relaxed — another "Hey, look at mel" action. 

Here is a quote from one of my favorite authors, E. B. White. See if you can feel the anticipated 
excitement he felt in creating a story (in our case it would be a drawing) out of nothing but a blank 
page. (And of course, a lot of mental gymnastics.) It's really an awesome thing, creating a story, and 
illustrating it in an appealing, entertaining, and exciting way, even when the story is only one drawing 
long. Here is what he said: "... a blank sheet of paper holds the greatest excitement there is for me — 
more promising thon a silver cloud, and prettier than a red wagon." 

Learn From the Mistakes of Others 

One good excuse for doing these "handouts" is, if you can't make it to the gesture class, the gesture 
class can be brought to you. Or as some obscure philosopher said: "Learn from the mistakes of others, 
you can't live long enough to make them ail yourself." Actually, these critiques are not presented as cor¬ 
rections of mistakes — they are just other ways of seeing things. Another instructor may corne up with 
an entirely different set of suggestions that might send you into wild and riotous States of creativity. A cri¬ 
tique should broaden ways of seeing things. It is not saying this is how to draw this thing or this action. 
It's saying, hey, if you think things out, you can make a more exciting drawing — and who doesn't want 
to do that? 

Walt Stanchfield 149 

Drawing is a breaking away from copying, thus adding life to your characters. It expresses some 
émotion or story point. In animation it is both of those things. If the student of drawing gets too preoc- 
cupied with the building blocks — he is apt to forget the life that is lived in the building after it is built, 
bought, and lived in. 

So I présent to you some critiques. Not so you will draw like me, but so you will look...and see... 
and draw in an inventive, inspired, and innovative way — having a plan in mind before you make even 
one line. 

Here is a model, David Roon, sitting on a stool with his left hand grasping the seat, right elbow 
leaning on his leg. 

Logically, for the elbow to get down that far, the character would hâve to bend forward. How does 
one draw someone bending over from a bock view? CheatI Yes, cheat. By turning your figure a bit, you 
can show a slight bend. You can round off the shoulders. Actually, it isn't the shoulders you're seeing, 
it's the upper bock. If you insist on showing the shoulders, you in effect straighten up the bend. Here is a 
side view of that pose showing how you are looking at the back, not the shoulders. 

150 Drawn to Life 

Here's an interesting pose where I picture the sides of the torso as if they were suspension cables on 
a bridge with the left arm being one of the superstructures, and the knee being another one. 

I imagined myself in that pose and I could feel my left side sagging between the shoulder and the 
hip. I visualized my body sitting on the floor, completely relaxed and not in the stiff manner of the stu- 
dent's drawing — nice drawing though it be. 

Here's a pose where the model was reaching up with the right arm. I stood up before the student and 
reached up showing what takes place in the body: the slight lean to the left, the right hip protruding, plus 
getting the arms in the clear so their actions can clearly be seen. You hâve to form a story, and rehearse 

Walt Stanchfield 151 

il constantly as you are drawing. Just putting marks, which hâve no meaning, onto the paper, is really 
courting failure. Drawing is a thinking/feeling pastime. If you want to earn a living at chance go to Las 
Vegas and pull on those slot machine levers. After a hundred or so pulls you may corne up with some 
cherries, lemons, or oranges that will form a profitable configuration. But successes there are rare, and 
so are they rare in drawing when you just start putting marks down (pulling levers) without some plan 

The human figure is amazingly supple — capitalize on that fact and your drawing will hâve a per¬ 
suasive vitality. You do nof want your characters to look like rigor mortis has set in. Cartoons hâve even 
more anatomical leeway and you being essentially cartoonists — well, lee away! 

Next is a fairly nice drawing by a student who is an excellent artist. In this drawing, though, she 
ended up with some tangents that caused some confusion in one area of the drawing. You can see 
where the hand, the wrist, the cheek, and the shoulder all meet at one point. It destroys ail sense of 
space there. The solution was simple, as you can see in my accompanying sketch. The parts were sim- 
ply separated in a way that created a more pleasing third dimensional space around the parts. It sets 
that part of the action in a kind of "stage." A good set designer or layout person will form such a stage 
to set off the action, and focus the eye on the main story point. 

In this following pose, the model held a long pôle behind his head. Now whether you hâve ever 
done this or not, surely, you can imagine the strain it would put on the bock of your neck, and how it 
would force your head forward. It's a piece of business that you hâve to feel to accurately draw. Even 
when the model doesn't give you such a definite piece of business — make something up. Give your 
poor drawing a story to tell so it has some reason for being. Mull over this quotation from Frank and 
Ollie's book, The Illusion of Life. "If you don't hâve a positive statement to make, you should never pick 
up the paintbrush or pencil. More than a positive statement, it must hâve enough importance to be worth 

152 Drawn to Life 

communicating — to be worth the work and the effort that will be required to put it on the screen. It must 
be interesting, provocative, spellbinding; it must be a story." Sound familiar? 

Here are two views of the same pose, both of which needed a little more pizzazz (a more grip- 
ping statement). In the first correction sketch, I realized I hadn't gone far enough, so sketched a second 
one with the head farther forward. In the next one, having learned a lesson, I drew what I thought 
would give the viewer a sense, or better yet, the sensation of the strain one would feel when assuming 
this pose. 

i left some of the body on the student's drawing so you could compare it to mine, where the whole 
body is learning forward — to ease its pain. 

Walt Stanchfield 153 

Quest and Fulfillment 

qcssr ■ ^ jj^Q purpose of learning to draw is to be able to express yourself in drawing. Fact; 

Limited drawing ability equals limited self-expression. 



The trouble is, it's hord to face the fact that learning to draw ends up being a lifelong struggle. We 
(some of us) start off with a bang, attending drawing classes and carrying a sketchbook. Then we get a 
job as an artist and somehow that seems to fulfill our goal, so we begin to taper off on the study and the 
sketching. But finding employment as an artist is only one step in a more far reaching and richer goal — 
one that can be reached only by continued effort, dévotion to the art of drawing, a résolve to self- 
improvement, and some good old-fashioned perseverance. 

It might help to realize that everyone is in the same boat. We ail hâve to fight discouragement. We 
are ail susceptible to negativity, and the seductive temptation to settle for "adéquate" when with a little 
more effort we could be "outstanding." 

One comforting thing: you don't hâve to expend a lot of energy and effort ail at once. Remember 
it's a lifelong journey, and a good steady little-bit-more-effort will do the trick nicely. An occasional anat- 
omy class, some periodic study from an anatomy book, and of course, the habit of carrying and using 
a sketchbook. Ah hal Sketching! What a sneaky way to bring up sketching. "So," you may be asking, 
"I suppose this is part of your ongoing effort to hâve us carry a sketchbook wherever we go and to actu- 
ally use it?" Well, now that you pin me down... yes! I think a sketchbook should be standard, everyday 
equipment for every artist. Sketching is an Artist's Ultimate Enlightenment.. And read it again! 

I probably learned the importance of sketching from a cartoonist in the 1940s. In his book, 
Cartooning for Everybody, Lawrence Lariar astutely counseled, "Sketching is sketching. It involves a 
model, usually, whether the model is a buxom nude or an old tomato can. It is copying, after a fashion. 
The cartoonist, when he sketches, is going through a process of study. He concentrâtes upon the model, 
plumbs its movement, bulk, the 'guts' of the thing he's after. He puts into his drawing (though it may be 
as big as your thumbnail) ail his expérience. He simplifies. He plays with his line. He experiments. He 
isn't concerned with anatomy, chiaroscuro, or the symmetry of 'flowing line.' There's nothing highbrow 
about his approach to the sketch pad. He is drawing because he likes to draw!" 

Even Tony Bennett does it! In his book Painting More Than the Eye Can See, the author, Robert 
Wade, slips in this bit of trivia: "Tony Bennett, the fine American vocalist, visited my studio during his 
recent Australien concert tour. Tony is one of the worid's greatest artists in modem music, and l'm a long- 
time fan. Tony sketches and draws everywhere he goes and is never without his sketchbook and pens." 

One of the great rewards of sketching is that you are drawing people doing different things, and 
you find yourself forming a little story about what you're drawing and directing it to: a gai looking at 
herself in a mirror as she tries on dresses; a guy leaning against a building looking bored. As writer/ 
director you can place a cigarette in his mouth, and hâve him look at his watch. You don't just draw 
anyone — you draw someone who is doing something that is interesting enough to record, even if you 

154 Drawn to Life 

hâve to add a little of your own theatrics. In any case, your thinking process should aiways be several 
steps ahead of your pen. 

Being fluent in speech means you're able to speak readily, articulately, and facilely. That is what 
constant sketching will do for you, allowyou to draw readily, articulately, and facilely. 

The pointer Robert Wade, speaking about thinking through problems in painting, said, "...the artist 
is the director of the show, so I did it my way!" In gesture drawing, you are director, and if you know 
anything about directors, it'Il be that they think things through pretty thoroughiy. Sketching will develop 
that skill. Hey, I kid you not! 

Vétéran animator, Ron Husband, inveterate sketcher, has been carrying sketch books for years — 
we are talking hundreds of them, and it's a privilège to reprint a few of those sketches here. I hope they 
will be an inspiration to you. 

Walt Stanchfield 155 

156 Drawn to Life 

Getting Adjusted to New Production 

I remember those exciting days when we started on a new picture. Ail the previous production's model 
sheets and inspirational material was put aside, and we began to gather research for the next film. We 
ordered books from the library, delved into our personal morgue, and shared our findings with each 
other. It was (and is) a necessary transitional period of gathering material pertinent to the new project, 
Footage on animais, birds, and humons; or new footage shot if none was available. The film was practi- 
cally worn out from running it over and over, sfudying it sometimes frame by frame. HelpfuI studies were 
copied and distributed to other artists. It was a period of changeover — a new way of thinking. 

Walt Stanchfield 157 

Now cornes another "changeover." The King of the Jungle is on the line (editor note: this wos the 
eorly nome for The Lion King). Who is not onxious to moke the transition by familiarizing themselves 
with the physicol, mental, and personality makeup of the jungle créatures that comprise the cast of char- 
acters? You may be thinking, "Oh, sure, l'm going to study animal anatomy, but what's with the mental 
and personality bit?" Well, l'm glad you askedl 

Since time immémorial mon has attempted to understand the minds of animais — and animais 
to understand the minds of mon. There is o weaith of lore, from whole civilizations to individual 
tribes, where animais and birds hâve assumed rôles of stewardship or hâve influenced significantly 
the daily lives of the believers. Fairy taies are rife with animais and birds talking, thinking, and act- 
ing like man. Occasionally, man becomes animal-like. We think of people as being foxy, or stub- 
born as a mule; cowardiy people are called "chicken," or they move like snails, run like deer, or 
swim like fish. 

The Disney Studios has aiways given animais the attributes of man, having them perform human 
feats and think human thoughts. Remember King Louie, who in song expressed the desire to be like 

Now l'm the king of the swingers 
Oh, the jungle V.I.P. 
l've reached the top and had to stop 
And that's what's botherin' me. 

I wanna be a man, Mancub, 

And stroll right into town. 

And be just like the other men, 
l'm tired of monkeyin' around. 

Oh, ooh be do, I want to be like you hoo, 

I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too hoo hoo, 

You see it's true hoo hoo 
An ape like me hee bee 
Can learn to be a hu-hu-human, too boo hoo. 

Our dog Bonnie, a blonde cocker spaniel, wanted to be like humons, too. When my wife, Dee, and 
I would talk together or with a group of friends, Bonnie would try to join in with an uncanny likeness to 
human talk. (Quiet, Bonnie, you're just a dog...we thinki) 

158 Drawn to Life 

We hâve a huge Himalayan cat that Dee talks fo. It's like they're both trying to enter the other's 
realm. (They've got me convinced that something is going on between them, the "Meows" are so 

A guy named Fred Kimball, The Man Wbo Speaks to Animais, octuolly did converse with animais. 
At a démonstration I was privileged to witness, people in the audience brought their pets (hamsters, 
Canaries, dogs, cats, ducks, etc.) onto the stage (one at a time), where Fred would ask questions of them 
telepathically. Then he would tell the owners what the animais said — for vérification. The owners would 
burst into laughter and say, "Yes, that's exactiy what happened." 

l'Il relate only a couple of exchanges — a duck told him that he had two bodies of water 
in his yard. "That's right," explained the owner, "One of them is for drinking, the other is for 

"He keeps telling me that his yard looks like a garden — what does he mean by 'looks like' a 
garden?" The owner laughed and explained, "It used to be a garden, but the duck ate or otherwise 
destroyed all the plants, so we put in some plastic flowers." 

Kimball used his psychic powers to diagnose animal illnesses — somewhat resembling Dr. Dolittle. 
Ah, yes, Dr. Dolittle! How about Rex Harrison's delightfui réédition of Dr. Dolittle as he sang. If I Could 
Talk to the Animais. 

If I could walk with the animais, Talk with the animais 

Grunt and squawk And squeak with the animais. And they could talk to me. 

In the introduction to the tenth printing of Dr. Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting, Hugh Walpole said a very 
pertinent thing; "John Dolittle's friends are convincing because their creator never forces them to desert 
their own characteristics. For instance," Hugh continues, "Polynesia the parrot, really does care about 
the Doctor but she cares as a bird would care." 

Here is a typical exchange of thought between the parrot and the Doctor. 

"But animais don't aiways speak with their mouths," said the parrot in a high voice, raising her 
eyebrows. "They talk with their ears, with their feet, with their tails — with everything. Sometîmes 
they don't want to make a noise. Do you see now the way he's twitching up one side of his nose?" 

"What's that mean?" asked the Doctor. 

"That means, 'can't you see that it has stopped raining?"' Polynesia answered. "He's asking you a 
question. Dogs nearly aiways use their noses for asking questions." 

Bet you're dying to get home and check that out with your dog. 

I don't want to stretch this psychic connection or relationship between mon and beast too far, but 
in the Los Angeles Times (Wednesday 8/12/92) there was an article on Winn Bundy, who runs a 
bookstore on a remote ranch called The Singing Wind, in Arizona. One day she was down by the San 
Pedro River inspecting her wells when she spotted a bobcat on the opposite bonk. She sat down and 
watched it. 

The bobcat seemed to like the attention, and began puffing out its chest and growling. Bundy was 
having a good time, too. She eyeballed the preening cat and said, "Yes sir, you are beautiful." 
The conversation went on like that, two denizens of the Singing Wind chatting across the river like 
old friends. 

Wolt Stanchfield 159 

Well, the animation staff is even now immersing themselves into animal life as they préparé for 
the King of the Jungle (editor note: King of the Jungle was an early name for The Lion Kingj, with ani¬ 
mais that will be speaking English and acting American. We trust that none will carry this "merging" 
with the animais too far, ending up in a kind of "Twilight Zone." You've heard of how some actors 
hâve immersed themselves so deepiy into their rôles that it was difficult to adjust back to their normal 
relationships after the makeup was removed. So be cautions, and in the words of our cat, Casey, 
"Meow.. ..meeeow!" 

Vétéran animator, Andréas Déjà, has been sketching at the Griffith Park Zoo (as hâve others) for 
some time now, preparing for a walk with and a talk with, the animais. He tells me he is going to 
spend about a week with the animais of the San Diego Zoo — how did he put it — getting acquainted 
with, or getting close to, or was it something like blending with their personalities — I can't remember 
exactiy, but it reminded me immediately of Dr. Dolittle's song. I asked Andréas to write a paragraph 
for this handout, so here is a very brief view of his otherwise vast knowledge and understanding of 

As we observe these lions and study how they walk, run, sit down, etc., we must remember the 
individual type and character of each animal. 

If we only concentrate on the technical aspects of movement we'll end up with dry academie stud- 
ies on the screen. I feel ail analysis should start with the personality which will dictate what the 
character is going to do, and then we worry about how he is going to do it technically. 

And finally, for your viewing pleasure and inspiration, here are some quick sketches of animais from 
Andreas's latest sketch books. 

160 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stonchfield 161 

162 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 163 

164 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 165 

166 Drawn to Life 

More Animal Talk 

Recently I had fun doing a handout on animais. It was a blatant attempt to suggest that mon and 
animais do communicate on certain levels. Who knows how much communication of this nature is 
needed for good animation? We can be sure, though, that the more understanding we hâve of animal 
personality — and we will ail agréé they hâve character, tempérament, and individuality — the better 
we can draw them. 

Walt Stanchfield 167 

In that last handout (Chapter 40), Polynesia told Dr. Dolittle that animais talked with their ears, 
tails, etc. How about smell? Well, Fred Kimball, The Man Who Talks fo Animais, during that démon¬ 
stration I told you about, had a hamster tell him (telepathically) that he hid from his owners. "Yes," 
they admitted, "We had everyone in the apartment complex looking for him." Fred then said the ham¬ 
ster kept "beaming" him the smell of leather. "Yes, we finally found him hiding in a leather slipper in 
the closet." 

Last week I only scratched the surface of this fascinating subject, so this week will carry it a bit fur- 
ther. (Incidentally, the sensitive cat drawings adorning these pages were done by Andréas Déjà.) 

I suggested that there is a télépathie link between man and animal. You've ail no doubt heard of 
the experiments in communication between man and porpoise, man and chimpanzee, etc. Barbara 
Woodhouse, the famous trainer of dogs, tells some delightfui taies of her expériences along those lines. 
In Just Barbara, an autobiography, she writes: 

The importance of your tone of voice when speaking to animais (or human beings for that matter) 
was made very clear to me when 1 was in Gambia a few years bock. I went to the Abuko rainfor- 
ests where the nature reserves are. In a cage, was a hyena which had continued, ever since its 
captivity to throw itself from one end of it to another hoping to escape. It did this twelve hours a 
day. Nothing could persuade it to stop, in its misery and fear. I asked the keeper who was there 
if he would allow me to go and talk to the hyena. Fte said I could, so I went over to it and in what 
I call my 'little voice' (which is a fairly soft high-pitched tone) I said, 'Corne along, corne along.' 

It stopped throwing itself against the cage and came up to me. It raised its nose to mine, put its 

168 Drawn lo Life 

ears fiat against its face in what 1 call the 'soft look' which means that the animal welcomes you, 
and actually wriggled as it came up to me, laid its head against my chest and breathed up my 
nose. Then it lay down at my feet. I was so amazed at the reaction of this animal that I asked the 
keeper if I could go out to the reserve where there were many more hyenas and he said I could. 
I was not allowed in with them, so I stayed outside the wire, and again used my 'little voice' to 
call them which, incidentally, my mother aiways asked me to use in the old days if there was any 
unhappy dog in the boarding kennels. She would say. Go and talk to the dog, Barbara, in your 
'little voice' — it aiways makes them happy." Well, I called the hyenas, and one by one, they ail 
came up to me, laying their heads as near to mine as they could and breathing up my nose. One 
got near enough to push up the wire and lay its head on my chest, and then the whole lot came 
up, breathed up my nose and laid down at my feet. 

Barbara aiso tells of some far out expériences with a praying mantis, a family of swans, horses, and 
of course, dogs, which is how we know of her. 

The English cartoonist Thelwell lends his expertise along these lines. 

Poet W. B. Yeats writes touchinqly of a yearninq to communicate with a squirrel in his, "To a Squirrel 
at Kyle-Na-No." 

Walt Stanchfield 169 

Corne play with me; 

Why should you run 
Through the shaking tree 
As though l'd a gun 
To strike you dead? 

When ail I would do 
Is to scratch your head 
And let you go. 

Poet Tom Robinson doesn't write about communicating with animais, but about running like one. 
Here is his "Rabbit." 

l'd like to run like a rabbit in hops 
With occasional intermediate stops. 

He is so cute when he lifts his ears 
And looks around to see what he hears. 

My uncle Rollie, in the 1920s and the 1930s, hauled hay from Lancaster to Gardena, then a dairy 
town. One day a drunken driver crashed into the side of his truck, igniting the gas tank. My uncle died 
at the scene from burns. At his home in Los Angeles his dog, Rex, a Germon shepherd, at that very 
moment began howling (crying) and would not stop for hours. 

In the last handout I somewhat jokingly warned the animators to be carefui about getting too far into 
the animal's rôles. This reinforcement of that caution cornes from the Santa Barbara News-Press: "Bruce 
Dern says he's paid a price for playing psychos ail these years. "It changes your life. It makes you look 
for the darkness in everybody you see," he tells The New York Times. He says his rôles hâve touched his 
family." See!!!! 

170 Drawn to Life 

Woolie Reitherman, that great animator/director for so many years, and of so many successfui 
Disney films, in 1973 gave an analysis/ lecture on "The Jungle Cat." He prefaced the session with, 
"How do you capture an action?" (You will note that Woolie was a much more down to earth person 
than I could ever hope to be — or even care to be.) He said: 

I would like to start with, "You're capturing it ail the time, because you are watching action ail 
the time during the day. "When you go out to the races you see horses walking and running, 
you see people moving about, and first, before you get analytical, I think you hâve to pick up 
and take note of what you are seeing. I am talking about the sensation you get from seeing 
something. 1 am not talking about analyzing it at this point. You get a sensation out of some- 
thing that moves beautifully. You can say it's the grâce of the animal — but more thon that, it's 
the personality of the animal, the feel of that living thing that is after something, or is afraid of 
something. That's what you pick up first — and that's what you aiways want to remember — 
that Visual sensation! It's usually more than just the action because there is a real inner meaning to 
action — there is a life to it, there is a purpose to it. 

A little later he said, "I would like to say one more thing — why do we want to analyze action? I 
guess the reason for that is that really (at least we feel this way), if you know the reality of things you 
can create a fantasy or an illusion or a caricature much more convincingly than if you try to knock it off 
the top of your head." 

Well, there's no way I can import some jungle animais for the Gesture Classes (oh me of little faith), 
but a couple of weeks ago David Zabosky brought his young super pup, Oberon, an 1 1-week-old yel- 
low Labrador to "pose" for us. Oby, as any spirited, young pup would, decided that five-minute poses 
were boring, informed us in his not too subtie form of animal/human communication that he would just 
as soon do nine thousand one-second poses. The resuit was an exciting hour of quick sketching and 

Walt Stanchfield 171 

a worn-to-a-frazzle group of artists. Oby seemed to be constantly recharged — tiring not. (Makes you 
wonder what's in those dog biscuits.) 

Sketches from that class start below, but the need to get those images down in a hurry reminded me 
of a cartoon I did some years ago. 

"Boy, using a "flasher" for quick sketching 
sure keeps you on your toes." 

Seems like Ron Westlund started a sketch just when Oby decided to move on. You get the feeling of 
perpétuai motion here. 

172 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 173 

In Further Fraise of Quick Sketching 

The last handout (Chapter 41 ) broughtyou some extremely skillfui quick sketches of Oby, the yellow Labrador 
pup. It was a thrill for me to prowl around behind the artists while fhey sketched and to watch those sketches 
take form. 

Quick sketching is bénéficiai because it bypasses the temptation to analyze or copy — there is only 
time to get "that visual sensation," and hastening it onto the paper. You will find that quick sketches 
retain the vigor and spirit of the impression you get more thon longer poses where you hâve time to 

174 Drawn to Life 

copy or duplicate photographically what is before you. There's a big différence between copying and 
caricafuring. This is not to soy thot you shouidn't study anotomy and dropery — just don't copy it. 
Woolie Reitherman olso stated, "...if you know the reality of things (anatomy, perspective, weight dis¬ 
tribution, squash and stretch, tension, etc.), you can croate a fantasy or an illusion or caricature much 
more convincingly thon if you try to knock it off the top of your head." 

In terms of right and left brain activity — v/hen sketching, the left brain will want you to dabble and 
analyze, spend a greot deal of time on each part, naming them and getting them just so (the so-called 
reality of things). In contrast, the right brain wants you to get the whole thing dov/n at once — assembling 
whatever parts it deems necessary to produce a meaningful stotement. To the right brain, third dimen- 
sional négative space becomes a stage on which to tell a story. The left brain has no concept of space. 
It sees only the physical, nameable facts. Space would hâve to be broken down into gases and atoms to 
be fathomed. The right brain glories in space — space is the matrix in which ail life takes place. It is the 
stage on which ail action and drama are expressed. 

For about a half hour one evening in the Gesture Class recently, we had the model move very 
slowly, and constantly, so there would be no time to copy any lines on the model. The resuit was very 
gratifying. Woolie might hâve said we were drawing the visual sensation, which I sometimes refer to 
as the essence of the pose. Notice the feeling of space in the following sketches. There was no time to 
dabble and analyze — the right brain stepped in and got it ail together at once, so to speak. 

Here is a page of James Fujii's so full of life and spirit quick sketches. Bear in mind these were con¬ 
stantly moving targets. 

Walt Stanchfield 175 

176 Drawn to Life 

Wolt Stanchfield 177 

Impression - Expression = Dépréssion 

As Woolie said in his lecture, "You're capturing action ail the time, because you are watching action 
ail the time during the day... I am talking about the sensation (impression) you get from seeing some- 
thing that moves beautifully." 

No artist worth his weight in graphite can go through life gathering impressions without express¬ 
ing them in drawing, painting, or story. Those "sensations" hâve got to find an outlet or they will 
coagulate and bring on dépréssion. You'Il get that "Terrible Turquoise Tangle," or perhaps you might 
even terminate in a "Turmoil of Tintinnabulation," or maybe just fade away in a "TearfuI Tedium of 

Speaking of quick sketching, some of you aiready knovv that when my wife Dee and I go on 
vacation she drives while i sketch. I hâve even painted water color sketches while on the move. To 
point in watercolors or even in pen and ink at 65 mph (50 or 60 around mountain roads) requires 
an accelerated awareness and a swift pen or brush. Traveling at those speeds there are simpiy no 
lines to copy. And since you don't want to end up with a sketchbook full of roads (looking ahead 
things don't move so fast), you hâve to sketch out the side window — which at 65 mph is like fast 
forward on your VCR. 

Here are some of my landscape sketches (the principle of going for the "sensation" is the same as in 
figure drav/ing). l'm sorry I can't reproduce my rapid-fire watercolors, but will show them to anyone on 
request. These sketches were drawn in and around London, where I conducted drawing sessions for the 
artists on Roger Rabbit. Some were done from buses and some from trains. 

178 Drawn to Life 

Walf Stanchfield 179 

180 Drawn to Life 

Writing, drawing, and painting are ail a means of expressing one's impressions, which as Woolie 
said "...are collected whenever and wherever we are looking." Artists are not privy to these impressions 
alone, but they are stuck with the need to express them. 

Years ago when I worked on production, I did research, too. In preparing for the character Hen 
Wen in The Black Cauldron, Ruben Procopio and I visited a pig farm in Buellton to study pigs. Here are 
a few of those (quick at times) sketches. 

Walt Stonchfield 183 

Drawing a Clear Portrayal of Your Idea 

Let's talk a little more about whot o gesture drawing is and what it is not. You can think of a good ges- 
ture drawing like an expressive bit of body language in real life. We dislike it when people muddie 
their speech or make unclear gestures, so that their expressions are not clear to us. We hâte to misread 
another's intentions — it could lead to misunderstanding (or worse). It is the same in drawing. 

Behind every gesture drawing is an idea or story. It's like when you are conversing with someone, 
you search for the proper words and body language to get your ideos across. You don't like finishing 
your story and then having your bewildered listener say, "Huh?" So like your conversation, your draw¬ 
ing starts with an idea and is stated as clearly as possible so there are no "Huh's?" in your audience. 

With that in mind, here are a few examples from the Gesture Class where I mode some suggestions 
to try to clarify the idea — then to get that idea into the drawing. This first one is model, Little Bird, a 
Sioux Indien, looking into his leother pouch. Whether or not a model is clear in his or her gesture, you 
the artist hâve to take it from there, form on idea in your mind, and draw it thusiy — making "Huh's?" 

Here's another one that is similar, except in this one the thing he is looking at is off stage. Perhaps 
he is sitting on a cliff watching a wagon train invading his territory. Perhaps he's watching the moves of 
O bond of wild horses — planning how best to capture one of them. Maybe something less dramatic. 
Whatever it is, everything in the gesture should point toward that object — no "Huh's?" 

In my suggestion sketch I orranged ail the parts of the body so that the viewer would be aware of 
something off stage. I rounded the shoulders to indicate that he was leaning toward the object of his 
interest. I extended his right leg, which aiso helps to send the attention forward. I lowered his left knee 
which aIso helps point toward that off stage attraction, and lastly, pushed his head forward, creating the 
illusion that he is very interested in that out of sight mystery (at least it's a mystery to us). I once painted 

184 Drown to Life 

a picture of a railroad track. Not a very exciting subject, right? But this track went around a bend and 
disappeared behind some brush and trees. What attracted the viewer was not the track but the mysteri- 
ous "Somewhere" off stage. I could hâve sold that painting ten times over. So anyway, here is Little Bird 
acting out this mini scénario. 

Necks are very expressive, and very difficult to draw. In these following three examples the students 
allowed the Indien vest to get in the way of a clear statement. Whenever a neck problem arises in class, 
I usually sketch an ill-constructed neck which generally expresses the problem (the first drawing). Then I 
do a "Stanchfield" neck (which varies from week to week) showing how the back of the neck very soon 
becomes the person's back, while the front of the neck goes way down to the sternum bone in the chest 
area (the second drawing). This helps to project the neck forward, as it does in real life — the forward- 
ness increasing with years of carrying that heavy head around. Then I sketch a possible solution to the 
problem (the third drawing). 


Walt Stanchfield 185 

Again, and this is the theme of this handout, don't allow some detail (such as the vest on the Indian) 
to interfère with a "clean portrayal of your idea." Little Bird has a huge muscular neck which suggests 
masculinity and power. To underplay that feature in favor of a more mechanical and impersonal Sym¬ 
bol of power — the breast plate — is to give up a source of intrinsic personal power and expression. I 
agréé a neck is not easy to draw, yet every gesture of the head dépends on it, The head can't make a 
move without it. 

Sorry for ail the palaver above, but l'm just trying desperately to say, drawing is not making a pho¬ 
tographie copy of a pose — it is extracting the idea or story inside (or behind) the pose and then using 
whatever right brain inputyou can muster to "...portray your idea." 

Naturally, ail drawings mode in this class do not require a critique. There were a number of first-rate 
drawings mode that evening, and I managed to confiscate a few of them to reproduce for you. Here is 
one by Cheryl Polakow Knight. 

186 Drown to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 187 

188 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 189 

There is no way in the world anyone will acquire this kind of expertise other thon practice, practice, 
and more practice. For the devoted artist that means sketch, sketch, sketch. And quick sketching is, if 
you will excuse the expression, the quickest way to get there. 

In The Seascape Painter's Problem Book by E. John Robinson, he says (I take the liberty to substitute 
the Word "point" for "drawing"), "Your ability to draw will be no stronger than your détermination to 

190 Drawn to Lite 

Think Caricature 

Walt Disney in his mémo to Don Grahom, thot greot drowing teocher, tolked about studying sensation 
and being able to feel the force behind that sensation. I get more complicated and call it kinesthe- 
sia, the sensation of position, movement, tension, etc., of parts of the body, perceived through nerve 
end organs, in muscles, tendons, and joints. It's the sensation of movement when a person performs or 
images an action. It's a feeling (sensation) that runs throughout the whole body, not just a finger or an 
arm. Your mind requires the whole body to take part in an action. 

In the same mémo, Walt wrote, "Without the whole body entering into the animation, the other 
things are lost immediately. Examples: an arm hung on to a body it doesn't belong to or an arm work- 
ing and thinking ail by itself." 

Often, in the gesture class, I find an artist drawing a sieeve before they draw the arm — as if the 
sieeve has thought itself into that position. Then sometime later they stick in an arm and hand just to 
complété the parts. It's not a question of which came first the chicken or the egg — it is a question of 
which cornes first, the body gesture or the clothing gesture. Needless to say, the clothes merely react to 
the stresses placed upon them by the action of the body. Elementary, but sometimes overlooked. 

Walt Stanchfield 191 

And not to complicate things — keep it simple! Each action usually has just one motive behind it. If 
anything detrocts from thot one motive (story point), leave it out — sove it for some gesture that it will fit 
into more oppropriotely. Don't try to put everything you know into one gesture. Put in just those things 
thot enhonce the action (the story). 

Speaking of enhancement — every drawing should be considered a caricature. The degree of exag- 
geration dépends on the character and the story, but no drawing, no not one, should be without some 
caricature. There is no place for photographie copies in cartooning. As Walt said in his mémo, "I hâve 
often wondered why in your life drawing class, you don't hâve your men look at the model and draw a 
caricature, rather thon an actual sketch." 

Well, in one gesture class we did just that and it was very rewarding (and revealing). Each of us 
took turns posing, each striking the same pose so we could get a feel for the différences in character 
and structure. I am reproducing one artist's rendition of four different people to show what happens 
when not thinking caricature how they ail look alike. If the hoir were removed from the female figure in 
the lower right corner, if would look like the male figure in the upper right corner. Thinking caricature 
would hâve brought out the personality and individuality of each person. 

192 Drawn fo Life 

Walt Stanchfield 193 

Gilda, inspired by Disney's suggestion, was "cooking" on that pose, too. Here is her version — a 
nice, loose, caricatured figure. Aiso, whether consciousiy or unconsciousiy, she got a lot of nice straights 
against curves, the abdomen ogainst the bock, the face against the back of the head, the shin against 
the calf, and the front of the arm against the back. There is weight on the left arm; the head is nicely 
tucked into the upper chest area. If you'Il excuse the expression, it's a "damned nice sketch." 

It's refreshing when we get a good mode! who inspires us to reach for our Creative extremes. Such a 
model came to us in the person of Vickey Jo Varner who, while she was a temporary training coordina- 
tor, modeled for us. And did she modell Here is a sketch of her by Jane Krupka, who somehow captures 
gestures with a minimum of line and fuss. 

194 Drawn to Life 

Here are a few delightfui sketches 

Walt Slanchfield 195 

Going Info That World! 

In a few plainspoken words (plus some typically expressive gestures), Glen Keane told an interviewer on 
télévision recently that, "When my pencil touches the poper, whooosh! I go into thot world, and if l'm in 
that world, you (the audience) will be in it too." 

In that brief statement, Glen voiced what our Gesture Class is ail about, i.e., trying to enter the mod- 
el's intention for the pose (or to make one up of our own) and to relate that to the (potential) audience. 
Glen said it ail there, but sometimes truths hâve to be elaborated upon to be fully accepted or mode 
Personal. That is why we hâve endless classes on acting, drawing, writing, pantomime, and a library 
full of books on these and related subjects. The big problem is in translating ail that "outer form" into the 
"inner working." 

Let me try to suggest some of the things that might go through your mind while drawing from a 
model or while animating. Let's say you hâve to draw a person hitchhiking. You could of course stay "on 
the surface" and draw just the stock pose — the universally accepted cliché for hitchhiking: the expres- 
sionless waving of the thumb. But to get "inside" the gesture, you would hâve to add motivation and a 
whole sériés of related factors that suddenly involves you in acting and caricature. Okay, is the hitch- 
hiker a tough, belligérant guy, shoved around (in his mind) by society? Does he stand with his feet far 
apart in a défiant gesture, thumb sticking up like he's saying, "Wanna know something — I don't care if 
you pick me up or not — I don't wanna owe nobody nothin!" 

Or is it a young college student on his woy to meet his girlfriend? He wills himself to look not only 
desperate for a ride, but aiso to appear trustworthy. He leans forward toward the oncoming car as if 
to force it to a stop. As the car passes, his body follows it in a defeated attitude. Each disappointment 
makes him look and feel shorter; his countenance begins to look like a withered tulip. But thoughts of his 
girlfriend spark him anew, and he continues to huri psychic thoughts toward the oncoming motorists — 
"Stop for me...stop for me..." If you were animating, perhaps ail that could go in, but what if you are 
making just one gesture drawing. Which part would you portray? Which part of the action would you 
feature as your choice of the best représentation of the story? Would it be the anticipation or pleading 
when the approaching car is still at a distance, or the diminishing hope and realization that the car is 
not going to stop as it cornes abreast of him without slowing down? Or will you pick the disappointment 
and perhaps anger when the car zooms past? To that last choice would you add insult to disappoint¬ 
ment by having the wind, whipped up by the speeding car, blow his hat off and blow some dust from 
the road into his eyes or into his lungs, causing a spasm of coughing? 

So you see, waving the thumb at a passing motorist for a ride is a kind of symbol for hitchhiking, 
but in drawing for animation, you must add motive — that's the kind of gesture we're talking about. 
There has to be a motive so you can draw what is on your character's mind. There has to be some rea- 
son for your character to be doing what he is doing, and for the way in which he does it; depending 
on his physical characteristics, the gesture will take on o mood of its own. For instance, Mickey would 
hitchhike in a different manner thon would Goofy or Roger Rabbit. 

Any character an artist draws should be analyzed with deep interest and concern. Let me reprint 
for you animator Art Babbitt's character analysis of the Goof (as Goofy was colled in those days). Art 
is one of the greats in animation and the thoroughness displayed in this analysis is one reason for his 

196 Drown to Life 

"Character Analysis of the Goof" 

In my opinion the Goof, hitherto has been a weak cartoon character because both his physical and 
mental make-up were indefinite and intangible. His figure was a distortion — not a caricature, and if 
he was supposed to hâve a mind or personality, he certainly was never given sufficient opportunity to 
display it. Just as any actor must thoroughiy analyze the character he is interpreting, to know the spé¬ 
cial way that character would walk, wiggle his fingers, frown, or break into a laugh. Just so must the 
animator know the character he is putting through the paces. In the case of the Goof, the only charac- 
teristic which formerly identified itself with him was his voice. No effort was made to endow him with 
appropriate business to do, a set of mannerisms or a mental attitude. 

It is difficult to classify the characteristics of the Goof into columns of the physical and mental, 
because they interweave, reflect, and enhance one another. Therefore, it will probably be best to 
mention everything ail at once. 

Think of the Goof as a composite of an everlasting optimist, a gullible Good Samaritan, a half- 
wit, a shiftiess, good-natured boy, and a hick. He is loose-jointed and gangly, but not rubbery. He 
can move fast if he has to, but would rather avoid any overexertion, so he takes what seems the 
easiest way. He is a philosopher of the barber shop variety. No matter what happens, he accepts 
it finally as being for the best or at least amusing. He is willing to help anyone and offers his 
assistance where he is not needed and just créâtes confusion. He very seldom, if ever, reaches his 
objective or complétés what he has started. His brain being rather vapory, it is difficult for him to 
concentrate on any one subject. Any little distraction can throw him off his train of thought and it is 
extremely difficult for the Goof to keep to his purpose. 

Yet the Goof is not the type of half-wit that is to be pitied. He doesn't dribble, drool, or shriek. He is a 
good natured, dumb bel! who thinks he is pretty smart. He laughs at his own jokes because he can't 
understand any others. If he is a victim of a catastrophe he makes the best of it immediately and his 
chagrin or anger melts very quickly into a broad grin. If he does something particularly stupid he is 
ready to laugh at himself after it ail finally dawns on him. He is very courteous and apologetic and his 
faux pas embarrass him, but he tries to laugh off his errors. He has music in his heart even though it be 
the same tune forever and I see him humming to himself while working or thinking. He talks to himself 
because it is easier for him to know what he is thinking if he hears it first. 

Walt Stanchfield 197 

(This is me, Walt, breaking in. Stay with me, l'm trying to put over a point. The point is that such 
dévotion to character analysis should not be the exception. Think over some of the wonderfui Goofy car- 
toons you've seen and you will appreciate this kind of thoroughness. In the Gesture Class I try to get the 
students to détermine the type of characters that're drawn and how best to execute the gesture they are 
performing. "No fuzzy thinking is allowable, if you are to create a full emotional effect of the character 
on the reader." That is a quote from Characters Make Your Sfory, by Maren Elwood. Okay, bock to the 
Goof. Bear in mind this thing was written sometime in the 1930s when the character had not yet been 
fully developed.) 

His posture is nil. His back arches the wrong way and his little stomach protrudes. His head, stom- 
ach, and knees lead his body. His neck is quite long and scrawny. His knees sag and his feet are 
large and fiat. He walks on his heels and his toes turn up. His shoulders are narrow and slope rap- 
idly; giving the upper part of his body a thinness and making his arms seem long and heavy, though 
actually not drawn that way. His hands are very sensitive and expressive and though his gestures are 
broad, they should still reflect the gentleman. His shoes are not the traditional cartoon dough feet. 

His arches collapsed long ago and his shoes should hâve a very definite character. 

Never think of the Goof as a sausage with rubber hose attachments. Though he is very flexible 
and floppy, his body still has a solidity and weight. The looseness in his arms and legs should be 
achieved through a succession of breaks in the joints rather than through what seems like the wav- 
ing of so much rope. He is not muscular and yet he has the strength and stamina of a very wiry 
person. His clothes are misfits, his trousers are baggy at the knees and the pont legs strive vainly 
to touch his shoe taps, but never do. His ponts droop at the seat, and his vest is much too small. 

His hat is of a soft material and animâtes a little bit. 

(As I type this my mind wanders back to our gesture workshop and the great variety of models we are 
privileged to draw. I hâve them corne in Street clothes, costumes, and work clothes and aiso hâve them 
bring hats and sweaters, ail of which hâve distinguishing characteristics. Should we not treat these mod¬ 
els with the same considération as Art Babbit was asking the animators to give to the Goof?) 

It is true that there is a vague similarity in the construction of the Goof's head and Pluto's. The use 
of the eyes, mouth, and ears are entirely different. One is dog, the other human. The Goof's head 
can be thought of in terms of caricature of a person with a pointed dôme — large, dream eyes, 
buck tooth, and weak chin, a large mouth, a thick lower lip, a fat tongue, and a bulbous nose that 
grows larger on its way out and turns up. His eyes should remain partiy closed to help give him a 
stupid, sieepy appearance, as though he were constantly straining to remain awake, but of course 
they can open wide for expressions or accents. He blinks a bit. His ears for the most part are just 
trailing appendages and are not used in the same way as Pluto's ears except for rare expressions. 

His brow is heavy and breaks the circle that outlines his skull. 

He is in close contact with sprites, goblins, fairies, and other such fantasia. Each object or piece of 
mechanism which to us is lifeless, has a soûl and personality in the mind of the Goof. The improb¬ 
able becomes real where the Goof is concerned. 

He has marvelous muscular control of his fanny. He can do numerous little flourishes with it and his 
fanny should be used whenever there is an opportunity to emphasize a funny position. 

This little analysis has covered the Goof from top to toes, and having corne to his end, I end. 

—Art Babbitt 

198 Drawn lo Life 

I hope I haven't bored you or scared you by making it ail seem so complicated — it really isn't. 
Ail you hâve to do is forget the bones and muscles for a little while, form an impression of the model 
and the pose, then keep that impression clearly in mind as you draw. As an example, here is a draw- 
ing where the student seemed preoccupied with lines and muscles, forgetting to enter into the spirit of 
the gesture. Here, the left brain took over saying, "This is a hand, this is a pectoral muscle, etc." In my 
accompanying sketch I allowed the right brain full command in using those things to create an entertain- 
ing gesture. You can't feel what a thing looks like but you can feel what it does. 

Here is one that has a lot of what seems like good drawing in it. But as I pointed out, this is a self- 
deprecating girl, in a kind of apologetic stance. She is thin, emphasizing her vulnerability. We should 
take advantage of these suggestions in the model's personality. 

Wolf Stanchfield 199 

Understanding What You See 

I offen reflect on my audacity in coming to the studio and posing as on instructor. Many of you artists 
draw better now thon I ever hâve or ever will. Yet I corne, bringing my "bandouts" for everyone to read 
and conduct some drawing classes where I make bold to criticize your drav/ings. How utterly offensive! 

On my quote-adorned writing desk is a dilly by Destouches, a French physicien and novelist, "Criticism 
is easy, art is difficult." it humbles one to read such incisive acumen. But what is one to do? One cannot 
just retire and carry what little one knows to one's grave. That would be more unforgivable than criticism. 
So, another handout unfolds with one old timer's attempt to pass on some hints that he wishes he had been 
exposed to when he was young and trying to get it ail together. Listen to this — when I started at Lantz 
studio in 1937 we used nickels, quarters, and half-dollars to lay in the heads of those stiff old cartoons we 
drew. Since then, thanks to Walt Disney, the art of animation has corne a long way. He introduced acting, 
drawing, caricature, and entertainment which are the name of the game. 

At some point along the way, I hâve corne to realize that forming a clear picture of the idea or story 
you want to put over gives you something to shoot for. This picture or first impression is accompanied 
by a kinesthetic awareness of the gesture (or action). In other words you are not just observing the pose 
optically but aiso kinesthetically, which is like mimicking the pose or action without actually moving. 
Glen Keane put it so aptiy when he said; "...I get into that world..." It would be difficult to get into that 
World if you were just trying to copy what your eyes see. 

One way to free yourself to "...get into that world..." is to avoid trying to make a finished drawing 
too soon. Trying too hard to make a "good" or "pretty" drawing will cause self-consciousness. Self-con- 
sciousness draws your attention to self, rather than to your character. To go into "that" world requires 
that you become a sort of surrogate actor; that is, you become a catalyst that uses certain éléments (the 
physical body and costume) turning it into an idea or story for someone eise to see and enjoy. 

In his book The Natural Way to Draw, Kimon Nicolaides said: 

As the pencil roams, it will sometimes strike the edge of the form, but more often it will travel 
through the center of forms and often it will run outside of the figure, even out of the paper alto- 
gether. Do not hinder it. Let it move at will. Above ail, do not try to follow edges." (He was saying 
do not copy.) 

It is only the action, the gesture, that you are trying to respond to here, not the details of the struc¬ 
ture. You must discover — and feel — that the gesture is dynamic, moving, not static. Gesture has 
no précisé edges, no exact shape, no jelled form. The forms are in the act of changing. Gesture is 
movement in space. 

He goes on and pretty closely explains kinesthesia. 

To be able to see the gesture, you must be able to feel it in your own body. You should feel that 
you are doing whatever the model is doing. If the model stoops or reaches, pushes or relaxes, you 
should feel that your own muscles likewise stoop or reach, push or relax. If you do not respond in 
like manner to what the model is doing, you cannot understand what you see. If you do not feel as 
the model feels, your drawing is only a map or a plan. 

(I get ail tingly when I read this stuff...) 

200 Drawn to Life 

The focus should be on the entire figure and you should keep the whole thing going at once. Try 
to feel the entire thing as a unit — a unit of energy, a unit of movement. Simpiy respond with 
your muscles to what the model is doing as you watch, and let your pencil record that response 
automatically, without deliberation. (The right brain working.) Loosen up. Relax. Most of the time, 
your instinct will guide you — sometimes guide you the better, if you can learn to let it act swiftiy 
and directiy without questioning it. In short, listen to yourself think; do not aiways insist on forcing 
yourself to think. There are many things in life that you cannot get by a brutal approach. You must 
invite them. 

Here are a couple of illustrations from the Nicolaides book that serve to illustrate his thinking. One 
is by a student of his, and the other is by Paolo Veronese, Italien painter (1528-1588). 

It is essentiel for an artist to be keenly aware of the functioning of kinesthesia, the sensation of move¬ 
ment and positioning. We live with those sensations as long that they become unconscious. It's like when 
we do an action over and over — it becomes dull and the newness of the sensation leaves us. We can, 
however, re-awaken those "first time" feelings if we make ourselves conscious of kinesthesia. You've 
seen how thrilled young children are when they take their first steps. The kinesthetic feeling is new and 
exciting. After many years of walking — we take it ail for granted, but the propriocepters are still in 
there measuring every move we make, balancing, refining, and seeing that the move is performed just 
the way we desire it. 

We go to drawing classes. The models pose. They may do some way out posing, but we hâve seen 
it ail — it is just another pose. But you see, it isn't just another pose. To the artist who can arouse those 

Walt Stanchfield 201 

kinesthetic sensations, each pose is a magnificent reminder of the thousands of nuances the human body 
is capable of. Each modulation of movement becomes a thing to see and enjoy and marvel at, and to 
capture on paper. If we don't personally expérience the pose, we will more than likely miss the essence 
of the gesture and straighten everything up, ail our figures looking like soldiers at attention, l'm kidding, 
of course, none of us do that. 

Actually, it is the desire to do that that starts ail this stuff to working. You desire to raise your arm 
and ail the propriocepters in your body begin to measure the task. These impulses activate the muscles 
in hundreds of parts of your body, and like radar, they send their messages to the brain and your brain 
sends messages bock, ordering ail the intricate adjustments necessary to carry out your desires. And this 
same desire will allow you to expérience another's action — vicariousiy. 

Perhaps you'd like to hear it in more scientific terms. Here's a page or two from The Thinking Body 
by Mabel E. Todd; 

Awareness of our own motion, weight, and position is obtained from within the body itself rather 
than from the outside world. It is accomplished by means of sensations arising in certain nerve end 
organs, which are as definitely specialized to record them as are the sense organs in communica¬ 
tion with the outer world for seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and so forth. Otherwise we should 
be unable to stand or move about with any certainty without guidance from some outside source 
through the sense of touch, sight, or smell. But the body possesses the power of reacting to gravity, 
inertia, and momentum, the primary forces of the physical world, by means of the part of the ner- 
vous System known as proprioceptive, or "perceiving of self," as distinguished from the exterocep- 
tive mechanisms by which the outer world is perceived. 

The proprioceptive sensations, aiso called "organic," are grouped, according to their origins in 
various parts of the organism, into three general types: the "feeling of movement," in ail skeletal 
and muscular structures, called kinesthesia; the feeling of position in space, derived from organs 
in the inner ear and known as labyrinthine; and miscellaneous impressions from various internai 
organs, as of digestion and excrétion, called viscéral. 

Altogether, the proprioceptive System, acting in conjunction with ail the outer senses, serves to guide 
our total reaction to the outside world in terms of motion toward or away from particular objects, and 
to give us our ideas of space and time. More than any other factor the proprioceptive System is respon- 
sible for the appearance of the individuel as an organized unit when he is moving about. 

Kinesthetic sensations from extremely numerous and scattered end organs in muscles, tendons, 
joints, ligaments, bones, cartilage, and other tissues of the supporting framework, make us aware 
of movement, whether passive or active, résistance to movement, weight pressure, and the relative 
positions of the parts of the body. 

Awareness of our orientation in space is derived from sensations arising in spécial end organs of 
the inner ear, which are closely associated with, but not part of, the acoustic sense. These organs 
are located in a bony chamber called the labyrinth, or vestibule, and the sensations from them are 
therefore termed labyrinthine, or vestibular. 

The labyrinthine sensations record two kinds of impressions: the position of the head and thus of 
the body, in relation to the earth, and the direction of movement in space. Two distinct organs are 
involved, the otoliths and the semicircular canals. 

The précisé way in which labyrinthine sensations are transmitted is not known, but it is agreed that 
knowledge of the position of the head in relation to the horizontal plane is derived from movements 
of the otoliths, little partiales of lime imbedded in tiny hoirs in the vestibule of the ear; whereas the 

202 Drawn to Life 

direction of movement of the head, particularly its rotations in ony given dimension of spoce, is per- 
ceived by meons of fluid moving in the semicirculor conols. The semicircular conals, of which there 
are three in each ear, together represent the three dimensions of space. 

Fie. 5. Diïgram of semi-circular canals in skull of pigeon. (Redrawn after Ewald.) 
Fie. 6. Osseous labyiinth of left human ear, containing fluid and membranes 
which serve the sense of balance. (Redrawn after Morris.) 

However the resuit is accomplished, the fact is well established that the otoliths and semicircular 
canals are the seat of impressions of position and direction of motion in space; and that they are 
combined in the brain with the kinesthetic sensations of movement, weight pressure, and relative 
position, Corning from other parts of the body, to give us our minute-to-minute information as to the 
movements of our limbs, neck, and trunk, where we are at any given moment, and how we can 
get somewhere eise. 

And from another chapter, this interesting bit: 

As a working mechanism, the skeleton cannot be understood if considered only as a bony 
framework. Since ligaments bind the bones together at the joints, and muscles move them, and 
the activities of the whole are governed by the nervous System, no one of these éléments acts 

In my class critiques I try to show how, when using the gestural approach, you can keep your mind 
on the gesture (the acting, or the story), which is a right brain activity. The left brain is right there trying 
to elbow its way into the process by trying to get you to make a photographie copy, which is mighty 
tempting but pointless. Here below is one of those critiques. The student's drawing is a fairly good one — 
as far as left brain involvement is concerned. The anatomical parts are very identifiable. Now consider 
my critique sketch — it is ail right brain stuff — no bones or muscles or style in the dress. I concentrated 
on having the model lean on the table. To accomplish this I bent her more in the direction she was lean- 
ing. This accomplished several story-supporting objectives. It put weight on her right hand, it leaned her 
whole body in the direction she was looking, intensifying the look, and put her face more in the clear so 
the look is featured. Every part of the body helps to establish that story-point — the look. Notice the sim¬ 
ple straight of her right side against the curve of her left side; a curve which helps to thrust the attention 

Walt Stanchfield 203 

in the direction of her look. I tried to do os Nicoloides suggested, "...think more of the meoning thon the 
woy the thing looks." 

Here is a pose where the model wos "rest/’ng." This gesture requires thot the body siump forword. 
The honds are honging below the lap, dragging the shoulders with them, which in turn pulls the muscles 
of the bock taut, around, and forward. The artist should feel this action happening, kinesthetically, as he 
is drawing. It doesn't matter how well the muscles (or details) are drawn, the important thing is to trans¬ 
mit that whole kinesthetic feeling to your audience. 

204 Drawn to Life 

An automobile con get oround by going stroight or by turning from side to side — the only visible 
thing thot hoppens is the front wheels turn. When o person moves, hundreds of bones, tendons and 
muscles are octivoted. Skin is stretched, flesh and fat are squashed, angles are altered, and balance 
is constantly adjusted. If ail these things aren't attended to, what you get is a passport photo; that is, 
"Stand on the X. Stand up stroight. Eyes on the caméra. And don't move!" 

I don't mean to sound like the "parent," but this just happens to be the technique I know best to 
arouse your détermination to think gesture, or as the title of this handout suggests, to "Understand What 
You See. 

The cartoonist Al Kaufman evidently understands the importance of feeling the pose in one's own 
body, kinesthetically, as one draws or points. 

I hâve done it againl I hâve given crédit for some drawings to the wrong artist. My apologies to 
Gilda Palinginis, who was and is the creator of these excellent sketches. 

Walt Stanchfield 205 

An Inspirational Journey 

in this handout, i hâve compiled a potpourri of quotations, some of which you may find suitable for clip- 
ping out and pinning up. Some of them were taken from art books and some from a book called Writers 
on Writing. Writers are artists, so what they say can be construed to opply to us (drawers), too. Some 
of the quotes are from The Power In You, an inspirational book by Wally "Famous" Amos (the face that 
launched a thousand chips), to whom I often turn for a mental uplift. I refer to some of them as 1,000- 
volt jump-starts. 

Some hâve a definite "religious" overtone for which I do not apologize. The word "spirit" has a vital 
place in everyone's life. 

And so you may know exactiy who it is that has assembled these aphorisms, maxims, and guides to 
a happier and brighter future — here I am depicted by the penetrating pen of Mike Gabriel. 

206 Drawn to Life 

Alaska. Walt Stanchfield 

We must renew ourselves constantly. Like water in an isolated pond that soon becomes stagnant, we 
too become sluggish and unimaginative when we become satisfied with where we are. And like a mov- 
ing stream that becomes purified as it moves over its rocky river path — so we must gather inspiration 
on our path to keep the channels open — the créative juices ever flowing. 

There are numerous sources of spiritual and mental reinforcement. And no two people hâve the 
same psychological needs, but for sure, we ail need some inner sustenance. Here are just a few that I 
présent for your perusal. 

And oh, yes, some of them are mine. 

In the beginning was the word, and the word was mode visible through the miracle of drawing. 
Those who draw use the basic materials of création to express themselves. Their product is highiy 
visible but is formed in the unseen and brought to fruition through the phénoménal process of cré¬ 
ative thought. 

The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel. 

— Piet Mondrian 

Without art, crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. 

For God sake, keep your eyes open. Notice what's going on around you. 

— George Bernard Show 
—William Burroughs. 

I don't know what there is about this one, but it has a soothing effect on me: 

Going home, boy — going bock where I belong. 

I hâve so many quotes pinned up on my writing table that I am sometimes pleasantly surprised when 
I spot one I had forgotten, like this one. 

Walt Stanchfield 207 

I carefuliy guard my thought. 

I refuse to permit anything antagonistic or 
uniovely to enter my consciousness. 

I am leorning to live in joy, in peace and in 
calm confidence. 

I am putting my whole trust, faith, and confidence 
in the good. 

I think with clarity, move with ease, and 
accomplish without strain. 

That's an old one, brown and brittle from exposure. It probably came from one of those little devo- 
tional booklets. 

Here's one close to the previous quote that I am extravagantly paraphrasing. 

Put vitality in your drawings and they will be like catnip to your audience. 

Love the inner you and keep moving ahead because you can't stand still and improve at the 
same time. 

—Wally "Famous" Amos 

As you strip away loyers and loyers of négative attitudes and replace them with positive attitudes, 
your horizon broadens and your capabilities increase. You go to success, success does not corne 
to you. 

—Wally "Famous" Amos 

A positive attitude says success is a journey, not a destination. With a positive attitude you know 
that throughout each day you expérience success. 

—Wally "Famous" Amos 

When working from a model it is best to do many quick sketches rather thon going for a "master- 
piece." You will get more practice, learn more, and be less inhibited than when spending a lot of 
precious energy on a drawing that may not "corne off" anyway. 

208 Drawn to Life 

If you think you're out there ail alone, maintaining a positive attitude about life can be a lost battle. 
Acknowledging that a higher power exists for you to work with can remove the fear. Personally, 
I know that my life constantly flows and is shaped in positive ways through the guidance of that 
higher power. Whether you call it God, Allah, Buddha, or "Lorry" does not matter. The importance 
lies in the faith and acceptance placed in that force. Armed with that kind of faith, you will find it 
impossible not to keep a positive attitude about ail of life's adventures. 

—Wally "Famous" Amos 

Acting: How much thought has each of us given to our acting career? Sometimes we even forget 
we hâve onel But, we hâve — each and every one of us — and our "rôles" are of great variety 
and everyone makes a positive demand: get into character. Getting into character is no small 
assignment. It's like changing dress for different moods of the day, but not quite so easy. It can't be 
done with a brew such as Dr. Jekyll used to croate Mr. Hyde. It isn't a physical transformation — 
it's an image born of observation and imagination. 

— Eric Larson 

I glory in my growing appréciation of God, acting in and through me. 

— Dr. Carleton Whitehead 

"Creative Méditation" 

Drawing is, in a sense, a graphie form of acting. Actors, whether comic or dramatic use their bod- 
ies and voices to tell a story — artists rely on drawing to do the same. Years are spent studying life 
drawing, still life; how to draw animais, birds; how to use pencil, charcoal, and pen, plus many 
other facets of art. In the end, if the "audience" grasps the idea — the story — then the drawing is 
successful, if not, it's just another illustration gone awry. 

For a drawing to be good, gesture is indispensable. By gesture I mean body language that portrays 
émotions such as love, hâte, anger, jealousy, sorrow, sadness, fear, despair, happiness, satisfaction, 
and pride. Without that, a drawing is merely a collection of facts looking for a reason for being. 

—Guru Stanchfield 

It's a very excruciating life facing that blank piece of paper every day and having to reach up 
somewhere into the clouds and bring something down out of them. 

—Truman Capote 

I like to do and can do many things better thon I can write, but when I don't Write I feel like shit. 
l've got the talent and I feel that l'm wasting it. 

— Ernest Hemingway 

"Four Basic Steps for Effective Creative Visualization" 

1. Set your goal. 

2. Create a clear idea or picture. 

3. Focus on it often. 

4. Give it positive energy. 

Walt Stanchfield 209 

And then say, "This or something better, now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious 
ways for the highest good of ail concerned." 

—Julia Cameron, The Arfist's Way 

A work of art is not a matter of thinking beautifui thoughts or experiencing tender émotions (though 
those are its raw matériels), but of intelligence, skill, teste, proportion, knowledge, discipline, and 
industry; especially discipline. 

— Evelyn Waugh 

You can lie to your wife or your boss, but you cannot lie to your typewriter (pencil). Sooner or later 
you must reveal your true self in your pages. 

— Leon U ri s 

I am profoundly uncertain about how to write. I know what I love or what I like, because it's a 
direct, passionate response. But when I write l'm very uncertain whether it's good enough. That is, 
of course, the writer's agony. 

— Susan Sontag 

Hey, there's artist's agony, too...and typist's, accountant's, manager's, secretary's, and etc. We sym- 
pathize, Susan, we've ail been there. 

Comic Relief 

Kevin Klein met his hero. Sir John Gielgud. Kline was in awe. "Mr. Gielgud," he said, "Do you hâve 
any advice for a young actor about to make his first film in London?"Gielgud stopped and pondered the 
question for some time. At last he spoke, "The really good restaurants are in Chelsea and the outlying 
régions — you want to avoid the restaurants in the big hôtels." 

Draw ide 

One of my handouts greatly enlarged. 
Here are some of my "fractured classics. 



Walt Stanchfield 211 

212 Drawn to Life 

I could go on like this for hours. 

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Walt Stanchfield 213 

l'm taking a once a week class at Hancock College in Santa Maria under the wild tutelage of Robert 
Burridge. He shared this advice from the artist known as SARK. 


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214 Drown to Life 

Terri Martin keeps coming up with these splendid gesture drawings that in a graphie way, serve as 
a surrogate to the written positive thinking statements. They are in themselves a testimony of the life 
force we are attempting to capture in ail our drawings. 

Tomorrow (and each tomorrow of the year) is a blank canvas. On it you will point, by word and 
action, a picture that will correspond to what you consciousiy and unconsciousiy envision. You are 
creating tomorrow today, but you hâve the privilège of changing any color or detail before the 
Word is spoken or the action taken. 

What is your picture of tomorrow? What do you consciousiy and unconsciousiy expect to hap- 
pen? Does it correspond to the desires of your heart? Before the brush touches the canvas, paint 
out what does not; point in what does, using lavishiy the colors of harmony and beauty and joy. 

— Dr. Cariton Whitehead, Creative Méditation 

Mind is forever creating anew. The formiess is eternally taking Form. Unconditioned Life is continu- 
ally becoming conditioned. Mind, moving as my thoughts, créâtes my expérience. The Formiess 
takes the Form of my ideas. Life flowing through my whole being is conditioned by qualities 

Walt Stanchfield 215 

in tny consciousness. This créative forming, conditioning action is neither past nor future, it is 
aiways now." 

— Dr. Cariton Whitehead 

First is the desire for a new or different expérience, expression, or manifestation. Second is an 
idea, at least a general one, of the form the fulfilled desire will take. (Note that the resuit usually 
far exceeds your expectations). Third is a conviction or faith that results \A^ill appear. Desire, idea, 
conviction — when your demand encompasses these three, the response is inévitable. 

— Dr. Cariton Whitehead 

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. 

—Matthew 7:7 

Terri Martin keeps coming up with these splendid gesture drawings that in a graphie way, serve as 
a surrogate to the written positive thinking statements. They are in themselves a testimony of the life force 
we are attempting to capture in ail our drawings. 

If It Needs to Leon, Then Leon It 

Many problems in drawing are very stubborn and so, they plague artists over and over and over. One of 
the pesky problems is a tendency to straighten things up, which will take the guts out of any pose. Recently 
I went through previous handouts and picked some of the critiques that addressed that very nemesis. I am 
reprinting several in the hope of shocking you into realizing how unmindfui we can be at times. 

I would hope to convince you that drawing is as much a mental thing as it is physical. If you get 
involved in just the physical side of drawing you may miss the very thing you are attempting to capture — 
a drawing that tells a story. But if you proceed, concentrating on your mental concept of the gesture, you 
will surely hit it on the nose. And it is not enough to hear these things and merely agréé intellectually — 
you must apply them as you are drawing. Not just when you happen to think of it but at ail times and, 
yes, even when you are not drawing. 

Ollie and Frank say it succinctiy in their book, The Illusion of Life. 

Conveying a certain feeling is the essence of communication in any art form. The response of the 
viewer is an emotional one, because art speaks to the heart. This gives animation an almost magi- 
cal ability to reach inside any audience and communicate with ail peoples everywhere, regard- 
less of language barriers. It is one of animation's greatest strengths and certainly one of the most 
important aspects of this art for the young animator to study and master. As artists, we now hâve 
new responsibility in addition to those of draftsman and designer, we hâve added the disciplines 
of the actor and the theatre. 

Farther on they speak of the added problem the animation artist has to overcome — that of chemistry 
and charisma. 

The live actor has another advantage in that he can interrelate with others in the cast. In fact, the 
producer relies heavily on this. When he begins a live action picture, he starts with two actors of 

216 Drawn to Life 

proven ability who will generate something spécial just by being together. There will be a chem- 
istry at work that will create charisma, a spécial excitement that will elicit an immédiate response 
from the audience. The actors will each project a unique energy simpiy because they are real 

By contrast, in animation we start with a blank piece of paper! Out of nowhere we hâve to 
corne up with characters that are real, that live, that interrelate. We hâve to work up the chem- 
istry between them (if any is to exist), find ways to create the counterpart of charisma, hâve 
the characters move in a believable manner, and do it ail with mere pencil drawings. That is 
enough challenge for anybody. 

The problem I hove chosen to feature this week is that of leaning — leaning for pressure, leaning 
on an arm for rest, leaning for emphasis, etc. You might reason that shortcomings are bound to creep in 
occasionally, but this problem is like a bad case of athlete's foot — it itches (as I said above) over and 
over and over. And, of course l'm talking about the tendency to straighten things up. It's most obvious 
when the character is resting on a knee, or a chair, or table. If there is not enough weight distributed 
over the area being rested upon there can be no rest. As a matter of fact it would be very un-restful 
to straighten up a bit, leaving nothing to lean on, as in the first example. The student's drawings will 
appear on the left, my critique on the right. Bear in mind, mine is not fhe way to draw it but just a way 
to overcome the problem. Remember, in ail drawings you are trying to say something to an audience; 
you are acting in every sense of the word. 

Walt Stanchfield 217 

This will sometimes happen — the student will realize something is amiss and will try a couple of 
more limes, often repeating the error. Oftentimes, I will suggest they actually assume the pose so they 
can expérience the kinesthetic feeling in their own body. 

Admittedly a tough view but notice how the upper body of the student's figure is straightened up. 

218 Drawn io Life 

Walt Stanchfield 219 

In the handout where this originally appeared, I explained the action a little more in depth, and by 
action, I mean what each part of the body does to execute the gesture. 

Analyzing a gesture doesn't take a long time, nor does it use up a lot of energy (actuaily it's quite 
invigorating). Ail you hâve to do is décidé what you want your character to do (that should take but a 
split second) and then without getting sidetracked by fascinating and eye-catching details, get it down 
on paper. For instance, here's a student's sketch of a character supposedly leaning on the back of a 
chair, in a somewhat reflective attitude. His head says "reflective mood," but cover up the head with 
your finger tip and then name the pose. In my sketch (and this only took about ten or fifteen seconds), he 
is leaning back on the chair, his left hip is jutted out because ail the weight is on his left leg, and the arm 
is relaxed along the left side with the hand dangling free. Between the support he gets from leaning on 
the chair and the placement of the weight on the left leg, he can relax and reflect to his heart's desire. 

There are many types of "leans." For instance, here's a lean on one elbow to take advantage of the 
light from a window to read by. 

220 Drawn to Life 

Here's a lean on a pôle to propel a gondola. 

Here is a clossic reolizotion pose, one we ail use, probably daily, meaning we should be kinestheti- 
cally acquainted with it. But here in the student's drawing you will see, what, a fear of being off bal¬ 
ance, the fetish for straightening everything up, maybe deep down it is a quest for safety, equilibrium, 
conservatism, symmetry or balance...Who knows? 1 do not know, 1 am not a psychologist. 1 am just a 
ham actor. 

Leaning into the action is a good way to emphasize the point. Here is a chap about to smash some 
small threatening créature. You would not bock away as if it were going to bite you on the nose — you 
would lean into the action getting a better look at the wee beastie and thus shorten the hitting stroke. 

Wolt Stanchfield 221 

222 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 223 

This next one was from a session where we were drawing heads and shoulders. What little of the 
body that shows should exploin thot he is leoning forward, Just because it is a heod drawing doesn't 
mean ifs not performing a gesture — every drawing is a gesture drawing! 

There is aiways a bonus when you dramatically lean your character into the action. Part of it is psy- 
chological and part is physical. (It takes both to make the story.) Take this character, who could be point- 
ing to something on a blackboard. (Obviousiy, l've forgotten what she was doing.) A good lean makes 
a more interesting connection to the audience (psychological) and it affords an opportunity to do some¬ 
thing with the clothes. In this case I let them sort of hang down (physical). Notice how I hâve everytbing 
leaning into the action. 


224 Drawn to Life 

How about one more and then you may go in peace. You don't aiways lean into the action. 
Sometimes, like the character taking a swig from a bottle, leaning away from the action is called for. 

But whatever, don't ever, ever, ever take ail the guts out of a gesture by straightening it up, PLEASE! 

Don't Tell, But Show! 

There's a ruie in the arts — "Don't tell, but show." Which means don't just tell your audience about some 
event; rather show them what is happening so they can participate vicariousiy. Applied to drawing from 
a model, sketching, or animating, it means it is not enough to record the facts of a subject's construction 
and details, but it is important to show what the characters are doing. 

Here is an overly simplified example. This is a hat. 

Walt Stanchfield 225 

l'm telling you what we are dealing with. Put the two together, and i'm still just telling you about 

But if I want to show you something that is happening with these two things, I might draw something 
like this. 

or there are numerous other possibilities. 

You might think of it in this way: the hat and the head are nouns, things that can be named. But 
when those objects do something like tilt, or the hat blows away, they become verbs. I aiways advocate, 
"If you can't turn a noun into a verb, then don't draw it." Drawing nouns is telling your audience some¬ 
thing; drawing verbs is showing them. 

Harvey Dunn, that great illustrator of the recent past (1 884-1952) put it this way. 

Merely having ail the objects in your picture that belong there and having them well drawn is not 
sufficient. A man who is dead is entirely complété in the physical sense, and yet he is not there at 
ail. The same can be true with a picture. 

Concentrating on the anatomy of each part of the body will not make a good drawing, but relating 
each part to each other part, in accordance with a gesture, will make a good drawing. 

Often students in the gesture class attempting to render a photographie copy of the model become 
mired down in confusion. Usually there is no thought of gesture in minds. I pounce on them, shrieking, 
"Quit trying to make a photographie copy, and just make a drawing!" 

On the following page are some rough gesture drawings by Norman Rockwell. In them, he is 
searching for ideas for The Saturday Evening Post magazine covers. As an artist who could carry a 
detail to its "nth" degree, he was still able to put aside ail of that expertise, and just go for the gesture — 
that ail important ingrédient (foundation) for professionally finished work. But even Rockwell, profes- 
sional as he was, could not hâve arrived at those delightfui Post covers without having gone through that 
rough stage. That is the very stage I am trying to instill in the Gesture Class. There, most of the drawings 
that founder are those where the artist went for the final polished rendition too soon, having neglected 
the necessary, all-important rough foundation. 

Rockwell's search for picture ideas followed an evolutionary course. 

226 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 227 

Drawing is as much attitude as it is skill. As I pondered this weighty concept one day, 1 sat down 
and wrote some aphorisms which might Help to sort out some priorities in your approach to drawing. 

■ Drawing gives me an insight into how I see people. 

■ The fastest way to learn to draw is to learn about yourself then you will know others and can draw them. 

■ As I draw, the pen or pencil allows me to check my thinking. 

■ Whatever goes into a drawing, only gesture will give it meaning. 

■ Draw, draw, and draw, and then combine ail those into another drawing. 

■ A drawing may not be a composite of ail drawing that came before it, but it is a préludé to the next 

■ When drawing seems difficult, go bock to the simplest possible form. It is like plowing a field for the 
next planting of seed. 

■ If you enjoy drawing, your audience will sense it. 

■ Be positive while drawing and the gesture will bloom. 

■ Every drawing becomes a push/pull between inactivity and gesture. 

■ We make marks with a pen or pencil, but we make drawings with our émotions. 

■ When fear engulfs me, I go for realism, but when I feel freedom, I go for the gesture. 

■ A tight photographie drawing lies there like a stop sign, while a gesture drawing takes off and car- 
ries the viewer with it. 

■ A photographie copy is like an embalming, while a gesture drawing célébrâtes life. 

■ Though the pencil moves on a two dimensional plane, the illusion must be one of third dimensional space. 

■ Tension makes a drawing exciting and interesting, because ail gestures are created by tensions. 

Let's get into some critiques. Hopefully, it will be like vicariously attending the class — without being 
harassed by the instructor. 

Earlier I mentioned the tendency to try to make finished drawings before setting the foundation. That's 
like trying to nail the Windows in before the walls are up. Here is a pose where the model had a small radio 
held against her ear, in a kind of dance-like attitude. The artist, with pen tightiy grasped down near the nib, 
was laboring away at the area around the head. i quickly "threw in" the overall gesture, conveying the idea 
that it would be easier to relate the other parts of the body while everything was still in the rough stage. 

228 Drawn to Life 

Kinesthesia is really quite a phénoménal help in drawing. The word means the sensation of move- 
ment or strain in muscles, tendons, and joints. I can't imagine trying to make a drawing without it. In 
this next drawing the student was looking for structure but saw a lot of meaningless curves. In contrast, 
I imagined myself striking that pose and drew the kinesthetic feeling I experienced. It revealed the ten¬ 
sions inhérent in the pose and I was able to get a nice stretch on the front part of the body, while the 
backside became a squash. 

This next artist was starting to do the same thing as the first example, so I pounced on him, encour- 
aging him to get the whole gesture first before honing in on one area. 

Here's the kinesthetic matter again. Feeling the pose in one's own body is the #1 priority. That 
constitutes the first impression that one forms when starting a drawing. Notice on this, as in a previous 
sketch, it allowed me to get a nice long stretch on one side, while the other side becomes a squash. 

Wall Stanchfield 229 

Squash and stretch hâve long been recognized as a vital element in animation, and hâve their place in 
single drawings, too. 

This next drawing appears to be a very solid drawing, but actuaily it is a very much-straightened up 
version of the pose. In my sketch I introduce some tv/ists, tension, and weight shifting to bring it doser to 
the model's gesture. The artist was a layout person, who, I suspect, having spent most of his time draw¬ 
ing structures of an inorganic nature, saw the figure from that perspective. It's a beautifui drawing, but it 
needs a little life force. Study your acquaintances and actors on TV, notice how they mince about from 
gesture to gesture. The life force in them keeps them gesticulating constantly. Time enough to settle down 
to one stiff pose when that life force leaves you. Once again, by raising the left shoulder and lowering 
the left knee, I accomplished a stretch, while the right side becomes a squash. 

230 Drawn to Life 

Here are a few stimulating quotes to read and re-read when your zeal sags. This one is from 
Howard Pyle (1853-191 1), famous for his pen-and-ink drawings and carefully detailed, colorfui roman- 
tic paintings. 

The artist should climb over the frame of the picture and become one with the characters he is 

Here are a couple of perceptive quotes from Joseph Hirsch, successfui realistic pointer during the 
1960s and 1970s nonobjective furor. 

The alert eye everyday can catch hundreds of glimpses, any one of which might serve as the 
seed of a possible picture. For centuries the whole tradition of sketchbooks, in which artists store 
these seeds while the memory is fresh, has been based on the validity of brief révélations of 

And Hirsch aiso observed, 

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard put great value on having one thought only. (I assume he 
meant "one thought" at a time.) In painting (also drawing), it is disastrous to give equal impor¬ 
tance to a number of things at the expense of the one overall theme. 

Here is one by Austin Briggs, illustrator for Cosmopolitan magazine, etc., sometime around the 
1940s when the stories were ail illustrated by similarly great artists. 

It is the business of the artist to see the common everyday expériences of people in a new and 
fresh way, and to show them as if they were being presented for the first time. Since each of us is 
a unique individuel, if we are truly aware of our expériences and the world in which these expéri¬ 
ences take place, we cannot help presenting the old thèmes in a fresh way. Unfortunately, most of 
us tend to see things through other's eyes. We relate our own spécial expériences to the standard 
expérience pattern of our fellows, and for this reason we tend to fall into the cliché. 

...most successfui pictures deal with basic human feelings and expériences. Beginning artists often 
feel such thèmes are trite. They are — in the sense that they are the common expérience of human- 
ity. The more trite the basic theme of your picture, the better. The cliché to worry about is the visual 
cliché. Search for subtie variations, which présent the old theme in a new light. Comedians know the 
truth of the saying, "An old joke is the best joke. It is ail in how you tell it." 

And lest you students of the gesture class décidé to corne in and merely copy the structure and 
details of the model, remember this quote by Harvey Dunn, another of the old Posf illustrators. 

Pictures must be held together with spirit. 

I close with a juice-stirring quote from one of my metaphysical books. 

Bock of every event, the slightest effort you make, the smallest concept you entertain, there is an 
inexhaustible réservoir of life, of imagination, energy, and will, flowing through you into action. 

Wow! Let's do it! 

Walt Stanchfield 231 

52 Mainly Mental 

I am well aware that my handouts sometimes become wordy. I justify that tendency by contending that 
drawing is mainly mental and that ideas and concepts can be both communicated and assimilated 
through the written word. It just takes a little effort on the part of the communicator and the récipient. 
Not ail books on art hâve illustrations to illustrate the text, and there are two books in particular that 
I hâve treasured that hâve no illustrations. One is that wonderfui book by Bob Thomas and Don 
Graham, The Art of Animation which contains a weaith of vital wisdom, analysis, and enlightenment for 
animators. Don had planned for illustrations but the work was never published. 

Read this from his chapter, "The Analysis of Action.". He speaks of gesture, a subject dear to my 
heart, and the raison d'être for the drawing classes I conduct. 

Ail real actions hâve some meaning to us but most do not arouse in us emotional responses. We 
observe innumerable actions daily; we accept them; forget them. When, however, a real action 
has spécial meaning and arouses us emotionally we refer to it as a gesture. 

A gesture aiways implies an idea — she carries her head "regally," the horse prances "proudly." 

In nature most actions are not gestures, for most actions are not performed to arouse other peo- 
ple's interest and émotions. In animation, however, the interest and response of the audience must 
never be lost. Consequently, few actions are utilized that in some way do not résolve themselves 
into gestures. 

The unfortunate and limited use of the term "gesture" to impiy only hand action is widespread. 
Except in rare incidents the hand action is to an animator merely part of the gesture. The mood 
or spirit of the whole action dictâtes the hand actions; and the total impact of the action — body, 
head, hands — is the gesture. 

In nature the eye is accustomed to catching the slightest gesture, the most subtle expression among 
thousands of unrelated actions. In animation every gesture, every action must be planned to read 
to the audience. Extraneous actions are ruied out. Nothing will kill a scene faster than an unre¬ 
lated action; a hand, for instance, that moves for no apparent reason. Down to the smallest detail, 
the motion of a piece of drapery or of the blink of an eye, every action must be accounted for. 
Gestures don't happen in animation; they are drawn purposefully. 

"Old hat" stuff you may be thinking, but if you're like me it stirs the juices and renews a sensibility to 
gesture — whether it's a human, animal, or rock. 

The second book, which is actually a collection of lessons, is a tome of sensitive analysis of anima- 
tion-related writings by Eric Larson, who spent the later years of his life teaching and helping young ani¬ 
mators. Most of his writings were, appropriately, concerned with entertainment. Here is a sampling from 
his chapter, "Entertainment IV." 

Our drawing and what it "says" is our communication with the audience. It is the visual factor 
in our efforts to entertain. It interprets life, caricatured and alive. Our drawing is a statement 
of personality and attitude — be it saucy, bold, impudent arrogant, accusing, happy, sad, quiz- 
zical, embarrassed — whatever mood the story demands, our drawings must express it simpiy 
and clearly. 

232 Drawn to Life 

As we hâve often discussed, in our drawing v\^e musL search for interesting, expressive poses that 
moke strong, easily understood statements, ail in keeping with our charocter's personolity and 
physical structure. Will not a child and a grown-up, experiencing similar emotional reactions, 
show their feelings in different body attitudes? We know that in adults, children, animais, or birds, 
no two are alike, similar maybe, but not exactiy alike. So let's let nothing become "stock." We 
can't afford to be lazy and follow the thinking, "It was good enough in that picture — so why not 
in this?" Given the same situation and mood, no two characters will move, stand, sit, or laugh in 
the same way. We must aiways consider this fact so our drawings will reflect good analysis and 
will be more interesting and entertaining. 

Sometimes we might say, "I know ail that, I know my drawings must appeal to an audience and 
convey a thought — how eise can I communicate?" Knowing ail this as we do, we still so often 
minimize their importance and our efforts. We "slough off." Don Graham used to say in a quiet 
but positive way, that we were lazy when we failed to constantly search for the very best way 
to présent an action and an émotion on the screen. Today, we, too, might pay attention and 
give heed to his words. 

We must aiways be fully aware of the life a good animation drawing can project — of the emo¬ 
tional expérience and sincere response it can induce. It takes nothing from reality — it flavors it — it 
makes it more exciting, more imaginative, and more enjoyable. As animators, do we not secretly 
wish to put something extremely humorous or dramatic on the screen — to create a bit of lasting 

I confess that now as I review these writings, I translate them from animation drawing to the single 
drawings — such as from a model, and event to painting, which I am now mainly involved with. But, 
you see, they don't require illustrations — they are mind expanders, mind motivators, mind energizers. 
They encourage you to visualize how you would implement the postulations. 

But me, I stick in an illustration now and again. For instance, here is a nice one by Terri Martin. 

Walt Sfanchfield 233 

l'm not letting you off easy, though. Here's one you'Il hâve to study to understand. I talk a lot about 
kinetics, kinesthesia, etc., and aiso how angles in your drawing can cause tensions and movement — 
how lines can slov/ an action or speed it up. Here is a reviewer's analysis of a 24" X 40" bronze sculp¬ 
ture called The Ridge Runners by Dave Hodges. I mode a pen copy of it so you could look from horse 
to horse, head to head, leg to leg; and see how the angles of each create a sensation of movement. 
There's even a bit of squash and stretch at work. 

Here's “Kinetics, Many Ways to Movement," by Jack Hines: 

The orientation of ail living créatures to their surroundings is fundamental to survival. Environment 
touches every aspect of existence, whether it be bird, fish, or human being. 

Taking environment to its most basic element, we encounter the force of gravity and its corol- 
lary, movement. These two aspects are at the foundation of existence, and they likewise play 
an important rôle in art. For me the word "Kinetics" expresses the relationship in art. Many of 
you might know the term with regard to kinetic sculptures, or the application of moving parts 
that respond to motorized movement, the wind, or balance weights — the cuckoo dock, for 
instance. I prefer a broader conceptuel définition. Kinetics need not be only three-dimensional 
and mechanical. Drawings, paintings, and sculpture should aIso suggest kinetic forces at work, 
whether they be wild action or more subtie movement (emphasis mine). 

In Dave Hodges' bronze "The Ridge Runners," we encounter what can only be described as 
violent action, awesome in its speed and power. Hodges is a Montana rancher who has ridden 
and herded horses for years, thus accumulating a storehouse of knowledge about their strength 
and modes of behavior — the factual éléments that impact horse anatomy. 

What is more important in this sculpture, however, is how Hodges has manipulated kinetic asso¬ 
ciations within the forms, lines, and shapes of the six running animais. Notice how the move¬ 
ment of one animal has a catalytic effect upon the others in the group and how each reaction is 

234 Drawn to Life 

passed on to the herd. This overall reactive motion counters the static base, providing an ingré¬ 
dient without which art does not exist: contrast. The immovable anchor of the ground and rocks 
compounds the sense of rushing in the horses; whose heads comprise an agitated line, punctu- 
ated by angular négative spaces. 

"The Ridge Runners" goes beyond simple depiction of movement to a pov/erfui statement of 
kinetically dynamic forces. Working from knowledge and gut reaction, Hodges delivers doses 
of contrast in variable strengths that breathe life into this work. 

You can easily spot those kinetic forces Hines spoke about. Now for some closer-to-home examples 
that I hâve concocted, using drawings from various past handouts. Once you become aware of these 
kinetic forces, they will appear by the dozens to you. Every drawing, I repeat, every drawing you'Il ever 
make will need them, whether in wild or subtie amounts. Become aware of them, caricature them, and 
you'Il hâve yourself a mémorable, entertaining gesture drawing. Here are the first drawings. 

In this example the model is reaching. I include the student's drawing so you can get the feel of cari¬ 
cature and how important your mental concept of the gesture is. My correction drawing (on the right) 
features the upper body bending forward and the arm swinging down for the reach. Notice the arm is 
slightiy bent. Bending a line (or shape) seems to suggest a move in the direction of the bend. It's a psy- 
chological thing, maybe, because we associate it with the bow and arrow. 

a drop of liquid, 


or pancake botter which moves in ail directions as it settles in the pan. 


Sometimes in animation, a fast moving object's leading edge will be rounded (bent) with effects 
training aft. 

Walt Stanchfield 235 

Anyway, do you feel the right arm still moving down? That's one of those kinetic illusions. 

In this second example (same pose, different ongle), I caricatured the reach by stretching the arm 
out straight and lowered the shoulder, which would happen anyway, but aiso helps to emphasize the 
force of the thrust. The knees were spread apart to make room for his upper body to fit in as he bends 
forward. See how the angles of the lower legs set up a kinetic force — can you feel a tension around 
the bips and groin? 

There is a strange illusion the "V" suggests to us. When the V's angle is less thon 45 degrees. 


the sides tend to draw together, while when greater thon 45 degrees. 

they appear to be moving apart. Here's a fairly clear example of that. In my drawing I closed the angle 
of the face to the right arm, while opening the angle of the left arm. The straightened-up verticals of the 
student's drawing become static. In my drawing the right arm seems to be moving in toward the face 
(doing its task) while the left arm pushes the mirror out where it will show more of the face in it. Get the 
feel for it by acting it out yourself. 

236 Drawn to Life 

You don'L want good gesture drawings to be accidents that just happen once in a while. With a bit 
of kinetics (pertoining to motion in the drowing) and some kinesthesio (the sensation of movement in 
your own body) you can steer your drawings into the realm of "impressive." 

A friend aiways advised anyone who had a strain or sprain that, "Motion is lotion." That goes for 
drawing, too — keep a feeling of motion in your drawings. It takes a lot of involvement, accompanied 
by a lot of thinking. Like the little child who said, "I think and then I put a line around my think." 

Now l'm trying to appiy my gesture knowledge to painting. In a recent book, Strengthen Your Painfings 
with Dynamic Composition, by Frank Webb, he says, "Feel the gesture of a shape. You are not only a 
spectator but aiso a participant. Even a rock should hâve gesture. Try to feel the forces a rock 'feels.'" 

In The Natural Way to Draw, Kimon Nicolaides says, 

The study of gesture is not simpiy a matter of looking at the movement that the model makes. You must 
aIso seek to understand the impulse that exists inside the model and causes the pose that you see. 

The drawing starts with the impulse, not the position... what the eye sees — that is, the various 
parts of the body in various actions and directions — is but the resuit of this inner impulse, and to 
understand, one must use something more thon the eyes. It is necessary to participate in what the 
model is doing, to identify yourself with it. Without a sympathetic emotional reaction in the artist 
there can be no real, no penetrating understanding. 


Put down a line of your liking. 

Add action to make it enticing. 

A curve and a straight, 

Some angles for bait. 

And you'Il catch something really exciting. 

Stanchfield (of course) 

And now, to paraphrase Dave Pruiksma, "Back to the drawing boards with ya now." 

The Shape of a Gesture 

Often in the Gesture Class, I suggest the artists first sketch in the "abstract" of the pose. Basically, that 
would be the essence of the gesture — without the details. Another way to approach the gesture is to 
look for its shape. Not the outline, but the shape of what's taking place inside. Every pose or drawing 
of a pose does hâve an outline, but what is really happening is the tension and muscular activity within, 
and that détermines the shape. When more thon one figure is on stage, they collectively form a gestural 
shape. One exciting and ever changing gestural shape is a flock of birds. It might be stretching things 
to call them gestural, but if the poses of humons and animais can be called gestures, surely birds qualify. 

Even landscapes form a unified gestural shape. Here are a couple of my woodcuts (on page 237). 
The composition forms a simple "gesture." 

Walt Stanchfield 237 

Nr» 'V 


238 Drawn to Life 

A guy sitting in a chair forms a shape according to his gesture. Here are a couple of rough exam¬ 
ples. Look bock and forth and you can see the shape change. 

If you want to go beyond the stretch position, that is, caricature it, you would hove to consider 
where the "normal" position was and then carry the stretch farther — in line with the action. 

Anytime two figures are relating to each other, they are separate figures, but one gesture. Here's an 
extremely active relationship involving three characters — the painting, Stag af Sharkey's by George Bellows. 
There is a very vivid, descriptive, exciting shape to this gesture. (My pen sketch doesn't do it justice.) 

Walt Stanchfisld 239 

In the last handout (Chapter 51), I quoted Don Graham as saying, "In nature most actions are not 
gestures, for most actions are not performed to arouse other people's interest or émotion." With ail due 
respect for Don's perspicacity, I must differ with that statement. Many times we are aroused emotionally 
by someone whose "gesture" moves us, though they were not aware of us at all. 

Look at the shape of this gesture, American Cothic by Grant Wood. UnIike the action-packed 
painting by Bellows, this one is very subtie — yet so strong. You'd recognize it in the fog at 500 
feet, just by its shape. (I once profaned this bit of Americana by rendering it in a cartoon style with a 
caption that read, "If that traveling salesman cornes around here again, l'm going stick this pitchfork 
in him.") 

As you look at these paintings you are moved by the inner motivations that prompted the gestures, 
and though they are very different in physical flurry, one is no more powerfui in its message than the 

240 Drown to Life 

I go on and on, but let's not forget my original promise — gestures hâve a shope and the shape is 
determined by the forces within the body thot are called upon to express them. When a figure assumes 
one of those shapes we recognize it immediately. 

Every so often I reprint these drawings by James Fujii. Each time it is to illustrate a different point. 
A good drawing is good when viewed from any angle. Anyway, here are the drawings, each with a 
distinct shape, ail constructed to fit the character and the motivation that prompted the gesture. 

Here is a batch of sketches I did for a handout to suggest a simple approach to laying in a drawing. 
As you look from figure to figure, the gestural shapes become very apparent. Try to concentrate on the 
shape, and how that shape communicates the gesture. 

Walt Stanchfield 241 

No matter what character you are drawing, the basis of a good drawing is not the model, the 
costume, or the detail; it is the shape of the gesture that counts. To illustrate this I took a variety of class 
drawings and turned them into, albeit roughiy, the cook in The Liffle Mermaid. The shape of the charac¬ 
ter changed, but the shape of the gesture remained. 


242 Drawn to Life 

Whenever you make a drawing of a human or animal, think of it as being a characfer in a story, 
your story if you're drawing in the Gesture Class. Treat it as a living character, one whose idiosyncrasies 
you are working out; as a character who is solving a problem or carrying out some, perhaps, mundane, 
task; as a character who has certain qualities and traits that you want an audience to see and feel; as a 
character who has logical reasons for doing what he does in keeping with his or her dominant charac¬ 
ter traits. If he is a villain, show it in the attitude of the drawing; if a hero, make his gesture strong and 
purposefui, in a way that the audience will root for him. 

In stories that hâve audience appeal, there is a hero and a villain, maybe two, or three. Each must 
be true to their destiny — otherwise the audience will become confused. Think "hero." Think "villain." 
But aiso think ordinary, mundane, or humdrum — whatever class your character fits into. No character 
deserves the contempt of indifférence. A former can be a sort of hero — tilling the soil, planting seed, 
nurturing the crops, fighting pests, droughts, and finally reaping the harvest. That is symbolic of ail posi¬ 
tive, constructive, time-honored heroes. 

Walt Stanchfield 243 

Joseph Campbell, in The Power of Myth, says of the trials and tests and ordeals of the hero, "The tri¬ 
als are designed to see to it that the intending hero should be really a hero. Is he really a match for this 
task? Can he overcome the dangers? Does he hâve the courage, the knowledge, the capacity, to enable 
him to serve?" 

The characters we draw in the Gesture Class hâve no earth-shaking destinies to fulfill, but they 
deserve the same kind of character considération that the "big guys" get. Otherwise... why draw? 

In animation the shape changes with each change of gesture. You might say the story itself takes on 
shapes, the layouts, the actions, even the dialog — but let's not get too esoteric here. 

In the Gesture Class, I was trying to get the artists to loosen up, draw more freely, and try to feel the 
shapes of the poses. Here are two very relaxed (in more ways thon one) sketches that I intercepted in 
the early stages, while they were just a shape, sans any details. The first is by Terry Naughton, the sec¬ 
ond by Tamara Lusher-Stocker. 

244 Drawn to Life 

Dreams Impossible to Resist 

To set the mood for this handout I hâve chosen a poem from Mud Woman, Poems from the Clay by 
Noro Naronjo-Morse, an Indian artist from New Mexico. She is a sculptor whose works are both social 
commentaries and humorous. But, to the point, i see a parallel between her attitude toward sculpture 
and what ours might be toward drawing. Think of your having written the poem, using the word "draw- 
ing" in place of the word "clay" as you read. I especially love the last two lines. 

There is nothing 
like an idea 
that cornes to life 
through clay. 

Each step 

a Personal investment of 



and time. 


moving quickly, 
rounding curves 
setting up in clay 
skillfui responses 
by Gia's 

simple instruction 
and immense knowledge 
of her own work. 

Letting dreams corne true 
from songs 
born from within, 

inviting irrésistible challenges. 

There is nothing like an idea 
that cornes to life 
through clay. 

There is nothing better than a life 

whose dreams 

and ideas are 

just too 


to resist. 

Walt Stonchfield 245 

The crux of that poem, I think, lies in the first line that States, "There is nothing like an idea that 
cornes to life..." For we artists, and for that matter, everyone in the studio, bringing an idea to life is 
what it's ail about. If we can't do that, we hâve nothing. Nita Leland in her fabulous book, The Creative 
Artist, says, "Drawing is about communication, insight, feeling, émotions, not just a récital of facts." In 
other words, bringing an idea to life. 

It is a problem! We spend years studying proportions, muscles, and bones of the body, then suddenly 
hâve to use ail that to convey some idea — some émotion. We are confronted with the need to act, to 
caricature; to translate a story into drawing form. That's why we aiso study acting, pantomime, charac- 
ter development, and gesture drawing. From my viewpoint, gesture drawing encompasses ail the other 
aspects of drawing. In the gesture class, we don't just practice drawing the parts of the body from differ¬ 
ent angles — we learn that those different angles relate some kind of body language that is applicable to 
a story. We never make a drawing without it telling a story, even a simple one: a person resting, a king 
showing his superiority, a gai talking to her boyfriend on the phone, etc. The success of these drawings 
hinges, not on the factual depiction of the figure, but rather on an entertaining portrayal of the gesture. 

Any physical likeness to the model is a bonus. Oh sure, we take advantage of the character of the 
model, for usually the build and personality of the model dictâtes the manner in which she interprets the 
pose. But that is part and parcel of any faithfui rendition of a gesture. We are constantly honing our sen- 
sitivity to such things. Yes, it's a problem, but a pleasurable one and you should be having fun doing it! 

That's why I so often say that drawing is mental. It's a switching over from the left brain categoriza- 
tion of life seen as rational, verbal, scientific, and linear to the right brain which sees life as intuitive, 
Visual, artistic — full of hunches and feelings and how things relate to other things — and playfui! 

Of course you can't function with just half a brain — though l've known some that hâve corne close 
to it. One fellow was a "perpétuai" college student who was short on original thoughts, but was a walk- 
ing encyclapedia of facts. Another was an artist who had scant contact with what we know as reality. 
He could draw and paint, but he was a flake away from the drawing board. There has to be a balance 
between the two spheres. In Virginia Cobb's book Discovering the Inner Eye, she writes, "The time spent 
in practice is time spent integrating your artistic nature with your more analytical mechanical skills, the 
side of you that créâtes with the side that designs." 

Too often the left side takes on the "parent" rôle and tries to dominate the right side — the "child" rôle. 

Parent: "Draw it like it is. Measure it, plumb it, and copy it faithfully." 

Child: "I don't want to copy it. I want to draw it doing something interesting." 

Oh, if we could just bring the "child" to class, with its sense of wonder and play rather thon the sti- 
fling, intellectualizing "parent." 

When we were kids we "play-acted" with great abandon and child-like involvement. When I was young, 

I emulated Bill Hart, Tom Mix, and Tim McCoy of the silent movie days. There was an organ in our neighbor- 
hood theater and a neighbor of mine played it for mood. I think since there was no dialog, we were not told 
what was happening — we had to feel it. So later, when we got a gang of kids together to play cowboys 
and Indians, it was easy to mimic their actions and émotions. Maybe that's why I hâve aiways had a prob¬ 
lem memorizing verbal things. Emotions through sight are more important to me thon through words. Words 
are vital, of course, I love words, but remember, one picture is worth a thousand words. 

Here is a model, dressed in some costume, acting like some fictitious character, doing their best to fabri- 
cate a tiny portion of life for us to work up into a gesture drawing. We should consider that just the beginning 
of an exciting adventure and take it from there — let the right brain or the "child" take it where he or she will. 

I hâve said many times that drawing is mostly mental, but I aIso feel deepiy that drawing is spiritual. That 
is, a super-refinement of thought and feeling as opposed to a religion or church. If some are interested — 
rll take the plunge and get into it. For now, here are a few teasers. 

246 Drawn to Life 

Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy, pure energy. 

—Julia Cameron. 

The position of the ortist is humble. He is essentiolly a chonnel. 

— Piet Mondrion. 

We undertoke certain spiritual exercises to ochieve olignment with the créative energy of the 

—Julia Cameron 

What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obses¬ 
sion with the idea that what has aiready been said is still not enough. 

— Eugene Delacroix 

Critique time. Here's a drawing by a student that's quite well-proportioned, and the parts are well- 
depicted, but it lacks a kinesthetic involvement. Compare it to my version on the right, where I felt the 
slouch of relaxation, the slackened drop of shoulders, the more "curled-up" attitude of a reader who 
is absorbed in his magazine. I let his head sort of hang relaxed onto his chest, as if his whole body 
was melting into the article. That's the story! He is interested in what he is reading. In the last handout 
(Chapter 52) 1 had a child say something like, "First I think the gesture, then I draw a line around my 

In this drawing session David Roon came as a regai, pompous, imposing, proud, smug self-important, 
boastfui, egotistical, contemptuous king — sword and ail. It was a difficult character to draw. But to try 
to capture ail the above, or even some of it, by trying to find some shapes in the drapery, leads to a 
dead end. Without thinking of any of the above characterizations, the student's rendition ended up 
rather soft and apologetic. In my brief sketch, I went inside the confusing robe and came up with a 
pose I figured he was flaunting, one that portrayed his character. In a sense, I was trying to mimic his 

Wolf Stanchfield 247 

There is a logical sequence to drawing. First cornes the gesture, then the details. If you let the details 
dominate your thinking, you may end up with a lot of details floating around looking for a gesture to 
attach themselves to. 

In this next drawing the student tried to draw some details (the King's cape) with no gesture beneath 
and as a resuit, third dimensional space and perspective were lost altogether. Again, in my sketch, I sim- 
ply went for the gesture, which included the "stage" on which he is acting. Crude as it may be, I hâve 
captured the pose, and I can add whatever details are necessary to complété the story, later. 

Wherever you happen to be at this moment, as you read this, become aware of your pose. Look at 
that part of it that is visible. Observe how it occupies space. Notice the space between your feet, knees, 
elbows, and ail the varions parts of your body. Hâve a sensation of the space between them. The posi- 
tioning of those parts in space is what consfitutes your gesture. 

l'd like to share with you some drawing by a former Disney Studios artist. His name is Dan Boulos, 
and his drawings illustrate my attempt to get my students to draw the gesture with a minimum of detail. 
Dan never goes farther than just getting the gesture down, and when that is done, he goes on to another 
sketch — another version of the same pose. 

248 Drawn (o Life 

Dan never copies the props used by the model, but alters them to display them more clearly or in 
accordance with the story or gag. 

Copying something photographically does not dénoté a good drawing. Good drawing is simpiy 
putting over an idea clearly and in an entertaining way. It can hâve a lot of detail, or none, depending 
on the needs and the style — but in the gesture class there is no need for details. 

Study these drawings for their simplicity, inventiveness, and for how they go straight to the gestures. 

Wolf Stanchfield 249 

250 Drawn to Life 

Wolt Stanchlield 251 

I started this handout wilh a poem — let me close with one. This one is by Dan Boulos, who is as 
sensitive with his émotions as he is with his gesture drawings. 

Caught myself, 

Sipping images of you, 

Swirls in my coffee; 

I caught myself, 

Tracing words, 

Of our once conversation, 

Our once upon a time romance, 

Beneath the stars and eyes, 

Of a watchfui night. 

Short Book on Drawing 


To encourage my students to inject as much "story telling" into their drawings as possible, I hâve used 
a version of a Chinese saying that goes, "One picture is worth a thousand words." When you think of 
some of the brilliant authors whose writings we so admire, it is hard to believe one drawing could equal 
even a dozen or so of their words. Read these lines (with less thon a dozen words) for instance: 

His wry smile was hidden under an umbrella of a moustache. 

A pair of icy blue eyes radiated hatred and torment. 

I couidn't get over the obsessive sense of everything going wrong. 

252 Drawn to Life 

Those are difficult things to portray in a drawing, are they not? Even descriptive things are not easy: 

His dark hawkish face seemed never to hâve known a smile. 

He looked like a hawk with mumps. 

A square wall of a forehead with heavy brows for a base. 

Each of those descriptions evoked a definite physical attribute — to illustrate them in drawing form 
would require some rather inspired sketching. 

Actually, according to Alan Watts, the proverb goes, "One showing is worth a hundred sayings." In 
his book The Way of Zen, he explains it thus: 

The Chinese written language has a slight advantage over our own, and is perhaps symptomatic 
of a different way of thinking. It is still linear, still a sériés of abstractions taken in one at a time. But 
its written signs are little doser to life than spelled words because they are essentially pictures, and 
as a Chinese proverb puts it, "One showing is worth a hundred sayings." Compare, for example, 
the ease of showing someone how to tie a complex knot with the difficulty of telling him how to do 
it in words alone. 

This is not to suggest that we learn to use a sériés of diagrams to illustrate our meanings, our stories — 
but that we strive to pantomime our drawings to the point where words are not necessary to grasp their 
full meaning. Almost as if the sound went dead during one of our pictures and the drawings by them- 
selves would carry the story along. 


We yearn for the ultimate book of drawing, or the teacher who can, once and for ail, show us how to 
draw, so we can get on with our lives. We study anatomy, vanishing points, and overlap; we study dis¬ 
tribution of weight, balance, shape, design, etc., and drawing is still a frustrating expérience. We call 
out in pain and disappointment — our efforts should hâve reaped a better harvest. 

We médiate, searching for mental blocks from the past that keep us from victory. If we could just 
identify the devils that thwart our progress so we can administer the emancipating blow. Or better yet, if 
we could somehow form a partnership with the source of ail créative energy. 

Enjoy these drawings - they are fun and pure entertainment. 

Walt Stanchfield 253 


In the suggestion/correction sketch (mine on the right), I tried to think in the same terms that Shepard 
must hâve, as he worked out the gestures in his "Décorations." It's, maybe, like assuming the rôle of 
director who has to explain to his actors the meaning behind the story, and how best to put it across to 
an audience. 

^ -, 

Here the hands are spread apart, together forming a triangle which directs the look to the object 
being held there — the center of interest. 

254 Drawn to Life 

In Nita Leland's book The Creative Artist, in the chapter called, "Drawing: Don't Leave Home 
Without It," she says, "In drawing you define something you cannot quite describe in words." Lofer 
she says, 

Drawing helps you to see and seeing helps you to draw. You think that when your eyes are open 
you are seeing, but your brain plays tricks on you, reporting stéréotypés instead of what your eyes 
actually see. It gives you a quick and easy symbol — the tree looks like a lollipop, the eye looks 
like an almond — so it won't hâve to work so hard searching for individuel différences. 

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Dr. Betty Edwards, suggests that most people see and 
draw more accurately when they shut down the time-oriented, verbal left side of the brain and allow the 
space-oriented intuitive right side to function more freely. 

You do this by confusing the left brain. One way is to change the labels. Don't call what you're 
drawing by name; think of it as "a curved line about so long" or "a space this high and that 

And this from Walt Stanchfield's unwritten book, "Buy a bunch of sketchbooks and draw, draw, 
draw, and...draw!" 

Encompassing Realitywith 
Ail Your Senses 

For the past five years I hâve been doing these "handouts," which hâve covered many approaches to 
drawing. My suggestions hâve been directed mainly to those who were and are still struggling with the 
art and those aiready professionals who desire to improve or "bone up." Some of the things I hâve tried 
to cover are found in a handout from the dim past called 28 Principles of Animation. A few of them per- 
tain only to animation but the rest are essentiel to drawing from a model. Here is the list as it appeared. 

fbStr AAiO MOûû 

tit/t ANû simûiirn?" 
AÛIûM f'fiO 




5(}UASH m 

OtPTtl m yoiMC 


TO t'CTT?tW€‘ 

^ftAliHT5 Jitif S 
P/?iMAty MO 






Walt Stanchfield 255 

It's scary to think that every time you make a drawing you hâve to think about ail these things simul- 
taneously, but it's really not ail that bad. As long as in your training stages you don't get stuck on just a 
couple of the principles and concentrate on those to the neglect of the others. As long as you are aware 
of the prerequisites of a good animation drawing, you can stay loose while studying and eventually 
bring ail these things together into expressive, meaningfui, and entertaining drawings. 

The directions I hâve taken in these handouts hâve depended on the work the students do in the ges- 
ture classes. You hâve seen my reactions to their work in the handouts in the form of critique sketches, 
where I make suggestions as to what might hâve been done in their drawings to make them more 
dynamic or expressive of the gesture. I hâve tried not just to sketch my version of the gesture, but aiso 
to explain the thinking behind the choice in the hope of encouraging the artist to reason in a similar 
fashion — not exactiy like me, but in their own personal way, mainly to break them of the habit of just 
copying the model. 

Things don't just happen — they are thought into happening. For instance, when you physically 
perform some action, hundreds of bones, muscles, tendons, and parts of clothing are involved, plus the 
thing that started it ail — motivation. Your body responds obediently and automatically to your desires. 
But when drawing that action, you hâve to hâve some information about ail that is required to pull off 
that gesture (the 28 principles), plus an actor's ability to perform it convincingly on paper. There's no 
book of ruies, so there's no one "proper" way, for instance, for a character to thrust his hand out to test 
for rain. 

Speaking of testing for rain — here is a pose where the model was doing just that. Naturally, 1 
think, you would lean bock, look up toward the source of the rain, and extend a palm to test for drops. 
In leaning back and looking up, the belly would protrude, causing the bock of the coat hem to hug the 
calves while the front would be projected forward. That is what I meant by, "...the details must follow 
the articulation set forth by the gesture." This requires not just "looking at," but "feeling," the gesture 

256 Drawn to Life 

Recently, while breakfasting in Los Olivos, I looked out the window and here was fhis guy in a rain- 
coat, with an unopened umbrella in one hand, paying no attention to the sky — just to the drops that 
were falling on his outstretched palm. Hardly a cartoonist's approach, but I thought, "Hey, that makes 
sense. You don't hâve to know what the sky looks like, you can see how hard it is raining by the number 
of drops that dampen your palms." You could figure, it's not what is happening up there that counts, but 
what's happening down here. And after ail, as Don Graham said, "It could hâve been done a hundred 
different ways and any one of them could be right — depending on the situation." 

This leads to a couple of important questions you can ask yourself on any drawing: 

1. Where should the attention be directed? 

2. In what part of the body is the primary action taking place? 

Ultimately, of course, the object is to make a drawing that fits the action called for and to make it as 
entertaining as possible. 

This reminds me of a scene I animated in a Winnie the Pooh picture where Christopher Robin is 
holding an umbrella in one hand and, if I remember correctiy, the other hand is outstretched testing for 
rain. Christopher Robin is saying, "Tut, tut, it looks like rain...tut, tut, it looks like rain." 

Walt Stanchfield 257 

Here is a pose where the model is observing some scene or object. His honds are thrust forword 
into his pockets, forcing his shoulders bock, while the coottoils are pushed forword in line with the 
action, and aiso down from the force of the thrust — aiso pulling the bock of the collar tight against the 
bock of his neck. The heod and neck naturally project forword to maintain equilibrium. The stomach juts 
out choracteristically as he bends bock to look forword in this relaxed but active manner. The angles of 
ail the parts add a feeling of life to the pose. In other words, it becomes a gesture. 

The student's drawing to that point took probably around five or six minutes. (You can see that 
most lines hâve been gone over many times.) My critique sketch took maybe thirty seconds, meoning of 
course, that if you can feel the gesture in your own body, kinesthetically, it won't require a lot of search- 
ing around for the proper line here, the proper line there — which will never materialize if you don't 
see/feel it to start with. 

It's sometimes amazing what you end up with if you become involved in recording varions 
parts of the figure for the sake of the gesture itself. Here is a student's drawing that recording-wise has 
some very nicely drawn facts. As you can see, the whole figure was brought around to a more straight- 
on view. 

(The chair is correct.) Notice how the model's left elbow is not leaning on the knee, while the right 
elbow is off somewhere in space. My critique sketch was mode to encourage the student to get the basis 
of the gesture down before attempting to draw any of the details. 

258 Drawn to Life 

Wall Stanchfield 259 



You've probably seen that sign that counsels "Plan Ahead" where not enough room was left to 
finish the word "Ahead." Well, artists hâve to take heed to that advice as well as anyone eise. Next 
are two cases of this kind of planning — both by different artists and both of the same pose. The 
logical thing to do when faced with a horizontal shape would be to turn the paper to a horizontal 
format. Theses two artists did not and as a resuit they let the right edge of the paper dictate the angle 
of the body and the length of the legs. I think my critique sketches show a more exciting angle and 
overall length (the model was Vicky Jo Varner, a tall, thin woman), and aiso reveals the pleasure I had 
in making the sketches. If you want your audience to be entertained, some entertainment has to be 
injected into your drawing. 

260 Drawn to Life 

Doing these critiques aiways reminds me of Don Graham telling us, after one of his ego-shattering 
critiques, "So what. It could hâve been done a hundred ways, and they could ail hâve been right." 
l've talked enough, so let's listen to Kimon Nicolaides. He seems to speak so clearly. 

You are attempting something that might be called simplification, but I choose to call it emphasis. 

Try to select those lines, those forms, those rhythms that speak specifically of the meaning of the 
whole gesture. A figure has one gesture. The parts are ail there, but each plays a particular rôle — 
some the leading rôle, others a very secondary one. Others are silenced completely or become 
temporarily merged with other forms. 

Let's repeat what I said the very first time you sat down to draw. That is — drawing dépends on 
seeing. Seeing dépends on knowing. Knowing cornes from a constant effort to encompass real- 
ity with ail of your senses, ail that is you. You are never to be concerned with appearances to an 
extent which prevents reality of content. It is necessary to rid yourself of the tyranny of the object 
as it appears. The quality of absoluteness, the note of authority that the artist seeks dépends upon 

Walt Stanchfield 261 

a more complété understonding thon the eyes olone con give. To whot the eye con see the artist 
adds feeling and thought. He con, if he wishes, relate for us the adventures of his soûl in the midst 
of life. 


Gestures, Moons, and Tangents 

One of the practical benefits of a gesture closs lies in the fact that it condenses nearly ail the steps of 
animation into the making of one sketch. So insteod of just copying the model (or studying anatomy and 
drapery) the artist is asked to create a one-drawing scene — complété with story, motivation, and inner 
forces that constitute a gesture. 

A gesture would be impossible without some real or imagined motivation and a kinesthetic feeling 
for the physical moves needed to express that motivation. Motivation involves acting, while the physical 
moves involve action onolysis. 

As an example, in a recent session we had David Roon corne as a former. One of his jobs was to 
hoe some weeds. (The hoe was real but the weeds were imaginary.) The students were doing a pretty 
nice job of copying what was before them, but weren't really involved in the story — what came before 
and after the "pose," that is, what they would hâve had to consider if they were animating a scene. 
Even in a single drawing they should hâve included action-reaction, weight distribution, tension, squash 
and stretch, overlap and follow through, primary and secondary action — which are ail principles of 
animation — but aiso stress, thrust, twist, balance, and leverage, which are principles that are présent 
in almost any drawing. 

So I gave a short lecture on weed hoeing. The story behind the action was to eradicate a weed. The 
physical manipulation necessary to do this is to bring the hoe forcefully down on the weed and then pull 
it slightiy back to make sure the weed is properly decapitated. This requires that the hands be quite far 
apart on the handle for good leverage for the downswing, then the whole body helps in the pull back; 
the back and knees bend into the thrust, then straighten up as the body pulls back. The feet are quite far 
apart for stabilization and leverage. 

262 Drawn to Life 

My premise is fhat no drawing should be mode without considering ail the things that constitute a 
good animation drawing. In other words any drawing should express either anticipation, action, or 
resolution. To ignore those vital ingrédients and just blindly copy the model's lines gains nothing but a 
superficial facility with the pen or pencil. 

It is only when these principles of drawing are used that a drawing really grabs you. Copying the 
model is like reading a list of words: 





speckled, etc. 

Rather than a poetic juxtaposition of those words. 

The moon, prima donna of the heavens, 

In its proud fullness took 
Its place on the State of night. 

And performed its slow, gracefui way 
Across the dark blue, speckled sky 
In a costume of borrowed light. 

From a poem by Yours Truly 

Having hopefully put over that point, let me bring to light the many possible moves the human body 
is capable of (like the many words available in verbal communication), with which we can express an 
infinité number of gestures. l'm going to skim over this part because it gets so complicated l'd lose you 
before the 20,000th combination. Basically, the head has seven positions: straight ahead, turn right, 
turn left, tilt right, tilt left, look down, and look up plus combinations of ail these, plus an infinité number 
of nuances of each combination. 

Now add to that the chest, which has the same basic seven positions with the same amount of com¬ 
binations and nuances. Then the possible combinations begin to compound themselves when each head 
combination is added to each chest combination. But now add each hand, foot, upper arm, lower arm, 
upper leg, lower leg, hip, fingers, and toes, with ail their changes, with ail the others with each of their 
changes. What you end up with (besides a headache) is an inexhaustible variety of bodily movements 
to aid you in drawing the gestures you desire to express. 

Actors hâve the advantage of using the body first hand, that is, they only hâve to think an émotion 
and the body automatically assumes a gesture to express it. The artist has to think the émotion, then has to 

Walt Stanchfield 263 

translate it ta his kinesthetic sense, and then transcribe that to paper via pen or pencil. Being aware of the 
bodily moves that represent certain émotions is a necessary part of drawing. And though there are tens of 
thousands of possible variations the body is capable of — even when you strike a pose — the raising of 
one finger, or a smile, or a frown can change the whole meaning of the gestures. 

In February the Gesture Class was fortunate to hâve the Berger and Diskin Mime Class as a model 
to draw. This was another challenge for the artists — to capture moving targets onto paper, and to 
single out some of those thousands of bodily movements taking place while the student mimes writhed 
through their skits. 

The subjects were mode especially difficult because of the fantastic rôles the students were asked to 
perform. There were about a dozen of them, so some of the artists sketched quickly to cover as much of 
the "bedlam" as possible; others worked out the drawings more fully with the aid of memory. Here are 
a few of the artists' work. The first is by Geoffroy Everts, who sketched quickly and moved on. Bear in 
mind the mimes were working in groups of three. 

264 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 265 

266 Drawn to Life 

For fhe critique section, l'd like to talk a little about a big problem — tangents. In the First illustration, 
there is a drawing where some objects were placed in positions where no tangents occur. A path can 
be clearly seen traveling unobstructed, and third dimensional space is felt. In the second illustration, the 
tangents make it difficult to even get started on the path, and third dimensional space is almost nil. 

Basically, it's just a matter of using the perspective ruie — "Overlap," that is. 



And not this. 

Or if you prefer, squares. 



And not this. 


Here are some drawings from the Gesture Class, which contain tangents, with my accompanying critique 
sketches to show a possible solution. In this First drawing, the hat brim tangents with the shoulder line. 

Wall Stanchfield 267 

268 Drawn to Life 

As you become more oware of tangents and see the dévastation they can cause, you will be more 
inclined to avoid them. 

Include Your Audience 

In the last handout (Chapter 56) I spoke a little about tangents. Later, as I was thinking about the subject, 
it occurred to me that a stationary vantage point such as you get when drawing from the model, may 
tranquilize you into drawing tangents if they appear before you. The remedy for that kind of entrapment 
is to assume (mentally) a moving point of view. Don't think of the model as an immobile bronze statue 
and that you are chained to your seat. Think of yourself as ubiquitous in that you hâve the option of 
altering your view of the pose, or that the model is pliable, and you may move an arm, or whatever, to 
clarify the pose. 

The thing you want to portray is not just the parts of the body, but how the parts of the body function 
together. A gesture is just that — various parts of the body in some intricate combination of attitudes. 
Each of the parts, due to their individuel characteristics, plays a rôle peculiar to themselves alone; that 
is, an arm can be mode to do such things as plead, point, and clap with joy. An orchestra conductor 
can impart ail kinds of emotional and rhythmical signais to the musiciens through his gesticulations. In 
the meantime the legs go along with the moves, but mostly for stability or mobility, foundations on which 
the rest of the body dépends. 

When you think of legs, you think of running, jumping, and kneeling whereas the arms hâve a much 
more varied répertoire of gestural moves. Even an animal's front legs are more versatile than its rear 

Walt Sfanchfield 269 

legs. So whichever parts are to be featured as the gesture's "main event," or primary action, they must 
be pliable and adjustable so they can be placed in the best possible attitude. It will help in conveying to 
your audience that the character is not a statue, but is indeed a live being with feeling and spirit. 

Aiways try to bring your audience into the process of drawing. Say, "Hey, look, l'm turning the body 
so you can see both shoulders, clarifying the pose; and here l'm using the ruie of overlap so you will get 
a feeling of depth, etc." There should be harmony between you and your audience, not fhe audience 
— but your audience. 

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but if you're not carefui, twenty or thirty 
words might point a better picture thon your drawing. Modem fiction writers hâve a knack for paring 
down a description for their reading audience so they can move right along. For instance, here are a 
couple from Ross Macdonald's book The Blue Hammer. 

She had deep black eyes, prominent cheekbones, prominent breasts. Her long hoir was unflecked 
black. She was a very handsome, and quite young. 

And another example: 

A heavy old mon opened the door and peered out at me through the screen. He had dirty gray 
hoir and a short growth of moth-eaten gray beard. His voice was querulous. 

Extremely brief descriptions, but enough to allow you to form a mental image of the characters. Not 
a thousand words — just twenty-two in one, and thirty-three in the other. Could you make a drawing that 
would be worth that many words, much less a thousand? 

Look at these drawings by Terri Martin. I didn't ask her, but I truly believe that at least subconsciousiy 
she was saying to herself, "Hey, audience (my audience), this is what was happening — l'm not making this 
up. This is a real person doing real things. If it were a different person doing the same thing it would hâve 
been drawn differently so you would get the flavor of the "other" person. Notice how the tourist appears to 
be actually rubbing his sore foot, not just posing and the lady seems to be tipping the teacup slightiy?" 

270 Drown to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 271 

Here are a couple of very nice sketches by Jean Morel. Enjoy them, but aiso study them for how she 
used overlap, 



O û 

and surface lines. 

Check out the thrust of the bips, the crisp angles of the legs, arms, and upper body. Observe how 
the details become a part of the action. And hey, no tangents! jean managed to stay loose so the 
drawings hâve a spontaneity that keeps them olive. In The Golden Book on Writing, Lambuth says, 
"Snail-pace writing never catches up with spontaneity." And this goes for drawing, too. If your mind is 
on anatomy and details, spontaneity is apt to die a slow death with each stroke of the pen or pencil. 
Behold these spontaneous sketches. 

272 Drawn fo Life 

You don't hâve to know Bobby Ruth Mann, the model, to appreciate this drawing by Robert Biggs. It's 
not your everyday type pose, and it presented some drawing problems, but this drawing says it ail — this 
drawing is Bobby Ruth. 

An artist's material for a drawing cornes from without, but the ability to make it "work" cornes from 

Most of the shortcomings in drawing corne not from laziness — everyone works hard for the full two 
hours in class. The most common problem is having nothing to say. One must hâve something to say 
and proceed to say it in no uncertain terms. For instance, here is a drawing problem that should hâve 
been felt in the artist's own body before attempting to draw it. The model is sitting on a stationary spot 
and is leaning over to rest on her right elbow. The bips are the anchor point, while the upper body leans 
to whatever extreme is desired (or necessary). Elementary, my dear Watson. Eh, what? Well, only if you 
are thinking in those terms. Aiso one should take liberties to twist the body slightiy to one side or the 
other to avoid those straight-on "crotch" shots. 

Walt Stanchfield 273 

Below is a drawing where the model is sitting in a chair, playing a tiny stringed instrument. If the 
student were intent on showing the audience what was happening, he would hâve spread the knees, 
making a lap for the instrument. (See the previous drawing.) I call that area where the action (the story) 
is taking place the "stage." As you draw, think of yourself as a storyteller — that is ail — a storyteller. 
Not a copier of models, or a recorder of mere facts, not an elucidator of anatomical wonders, but just 
a teller of stories. It may help to hâve an audience in mind as you draw — even if the audience is your¬ 
self. After ail, we do work in the entertainment industry. 

Here's a drawing that I interrupted in its early stages. The first few lines of a sketch should be the 
foundation for the gesture. If the artist has only time for, say, 15 lines in his sketch — there should be 
enough there to enable him to finish the drawing at a later date. 

I suppose there were aiways some know-it-all's who thought they could teach drawing. 

274 Drawn to Life 

The Wonders of the Right and Left 

Some Hme ago I did a handout on drawing verbs not nouns. Just now, two or three years lofer (l'm slow 
and steody), the thought occurred to me thot nouns might be deolt with moinly in the left hemisphere of 
the broin, while the right hemisphere prefers the verbs. A short, easy experiment will verify this premise. 
Think of a noun — dog, mon, deltoid muscle. Your mind immediately présents you with some familier 
breeds of dogs, a mon in some form, and the deltoid muscle probably conjures up an anatomy book 
illustration (typical left brain conceptions). Now, think of some verbs — running, cooking, or acting. 
Suddenly there is activity, life, and gesture on your mental screen (right brain reflection). 

So it stands to reason anytime you face a drawing project, whether it is training oriented or work 
related, approach it mainly through the right brain channel and it will be more like an actor on stage, 
and less like a display in a wax muséum. 

Even our language evokes gesturing. Words, plus the way we say them, work together to produce a 
double-edged expressiveness. Charles Darwin was evidently interested in such things. In his book, The 
Expression of the Emotions in Man ond Animais, there is a photo of a mon saying, "Ugh!" and a lady 
saying, "Sn...," probably the first two letters of the word "sneer." Here are some crude pen sketches of 

Walt Stanchfield 275 

Hâve you ever considered the physical feelings that words evoke? It's not only the meaning of the 
Word, but aiso its Sound that prompts certain kinesthetic feelings. You feel like doing something with 
your body when you say, "gloomy," "bright," "teeny-weeny," or "huge." Certain sounds, vowels, and 
consonants seem appropriate to the meaning. You feel a definite need to form a gesture when you 
hear, "stern," "stiff," "stubborn," or "strut." The very sounds of words suggest activity or movement, like, 
"activity," "déclaré," and "gesticulate;" though some require less exertion: "comfort," "rest," "docile," or 
"ease." These are some of the kinds of words that are inextricably linked to the gesture that our models 
assume in drawing classes, and the story lines of our animated films. If you can formulate a relationship 
or Word and pose in your "first impression" of the gesture — it will help in drawing it. 

Here are a couple of nice drawings by Terri Martin. It is obvious how having a word, an émotion, 
or a story line in mind would help in drawing such expressive gestures. 

276 Drawn to Life 

In a sLimulating book, Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind by Linda Verlee Williams, there's a mandala 
that shows quite clearly how the two hemispheres of the brain process information. Notice how the left 
half of the mandala, an analysis of the flower, results in a sort of scientific breakdown — a "laboratory" 
view; whereas, in the right half, the flower is perceived as a whole — as a flower. 

When you don't hâve a model to draw from, you hâve to visualize the pose or action. Visualization 
is in cahoots with kinesthetics, for when you visualize you are not using your eyes, but you are using 
every cell in your body. It's as if you croate a whole 'nother world in your imagination — one that can 
be translated to an audience through your drawings. But even with a model in front of you, the same 
process has to take place; otherwise it is just copying. 

In the book Psycho-Cybernefics by Maxwell Maitz, he says, "...your nervous system cannot tell the 
différence between an actual expérience and one that is vividiy imagined. If we picture ourselves in a 
certain manner, it is nearly the same as the actual performance. Mental practice helps to perfect." 

He tells how "C. G. Kop, of Holland, a recognized authority on teaching piano, recommends that 
ail pianists 'practice in their heads.' A new composition, he says, should be first gone over in the mind. 
It should be memorized and played in the mind, before ever touching fingers to the keyboard." 

Alex Morrison said "You must first clearly see a thing in your mind before you can do it. When you 
see a thing clearly in your mind, your créative success mechanism within you takes over and does the 
job better thon you could do it by conscious effort or will power." 

Maitz tells about how many athlètes, who practiced by imaging while sitting in an easy chair, 
greatly improved their game. He (Maitz) may not hâve been aware of it, but it was fine tuning the kines- 
thetic sensibilities that helped improve those athlètes. 

Walt Stanchfield 277 

You who type will agréé that you can tell when you've misspelled a word even before your machine 
flashes "error." You can fell it kinesthetically — the sequence of movements in your fingers was wrong. 
Typing any word "feels" a certain way. Consequently, if you "feel" a new word, you will be able to type 
it correctiy the first time you try. 

So, my friends, are you not convinced that if you "feel" a gesture, you will be able to draw it? It's 
not only the information presented by the model, but it is aiso the way you "feel" it. That "first impres¬ 
sion" you form when you observe the model is your kinesthetic "feel" for the pose. 

Peeling, fantasizing, or imoging is a right brain activity. If you ask a person about a noun, they will 
respond with information from the left hemisphere. If you ask them to become a noun and tell you how it 
"feels," suddenly fantasy and kinesthesia corne olive, and they will call up the insights of the right hemisphere. 

This is from Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind: 

Kinesthetic awareness is an inner sense, an awareness of how the body (or another's body) feels 
as it moves. 

The importance of kinesthetic awareness was demonstrated in an experiment in 1952 by the late Lloyd 
Percival, director of Toronto's Sports College. Coleman R. Griffith, a psychologist, had observed that 
basketball players depended too much on sight when shooting and didn't make enough use of feed¬ 
back from their muscles. Percival selected two groups of basketball players of matching ability, with 
an average score of twenty to twenty-one baskets in fift/ attempts. The first group practiced predeter- 
mined shots for twenty minutes in the regular way. The second group practiced the same shots for the 
same amount of time, but they shot five minutes with their eyes open, ten minutes blindfolded while an 
observer told them exactiy where each shot went and urged them to attend to muscle sensations, and 
then five minutes without blindfolds. After four weeks, the first group averaged twenty-three out of fifty 
baskets, while the second scored thirty-nine out of fifty. 

Though we can be consciousiy aware of the separate functions of the two hemispheres of the brain, 
we should not obscure the fact that it is their complimentary functioning that gives the mind its power 
and flexibility. We do not think with one hemisphere or the other; both are involved. 

The power of the two-sided mind is demonstrated most dramatically in accounts of Creative discov- 
eries. Any significant créative breakthrough is usually preceded by a good deal of primary logi- 
cal, linear thinking as an individuel defines and redefines a problem. Then there cornes a moment 
of insight where an answer présents itself. 

I suppose that's how we form those first impressions of a pose. We see the model dressed in a cer¬ 
tain fashion, gesturing in a certain way, then after intellectualizing about it for a second or two — voila\ 
"In a moment of insight," the first impression forms like a flash of lightning. 

But it's not ail that simple. Gestures are aiways performed for a reason. They are not just mere move¬ 
ments of body and limbs in some haphazard way, divorced from inner participation (motive); it is the visi¬ 
ble manifestation of man's emotional or intellectual State. Aiso movement involves weight, time, space, and 
gestural significance, so actors, dancers, mimes, and animators hâve to be aware of ail the things involved 
in an action, and be able to synthesize them into a meaningfui and communicable gesture. 

Gads! What a lot of test! But l'm only around for a little bit, so I hâve to pour it on when I get the 
chance. Perhaps it's time now for some aesthetic relief. For the last two noon-time classes we had Allen 
Chang, a martial arts pro, kick-boxer, and modem jazz dancer pose for us. They were exciting and 
inspiring sessions. I managed to confiscate a few of the excellent drawings to share with you. These first 
few are by Danny Galieote. 

278 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 279 

280 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 281 

Making the Ruies of Perspective 
Corne to Life 

One of the most helpful things l've picked up over the years to improve my drawing is the "Ruies of 
Perspective," as revealed by Bruce Mcintyre. Bruce has written eleven books on drawing, made several 
télévision sériés, developed a self-study drawing program, and has produced two college courses in 
drawing. He considers drawing as not just for "artistic" purposes but, "a valuable community skill to 
show what things look like, how they work, and how they fit together." It's ail very elemental stuff, but 
believe me, a lot of us hâve gotten quite far along in our careers without knowing ail of the elemental 

l've aiready done a few handouts on the ruies of perspective but hâve never really done them jus¬ 
tice. l'm going to try again. Here they are as they appear in their raw, dormant state. 

^ ^ .0 O- £1° (y 

s-i^e S(2e' 


Not too impressive, as they lie in that dispassionate form. They're like a blueprint of a sailboat — 
with no indication of the adventures the finished boat will bring once you set sail in it. 

Anyone who has read Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, and other authors of sea stories knows 
how a blueprint of a boat can be made to corne olive and transport you into adventurous taies of the 
sea. To illustrate my point, here are a couple of boats bobbing, just waiting for their ocean-bound 

282 Drawn to Life 

Let's start with the ruie of overlap. This is one I am extremely conscious of while drawing. It not only 
allows one to creote the illusion of third dimensionol spoce by drawing one thing in front of another, but 
it helps establish and control angles, plus is the basis for foreshortened figures. It is aiso helpfui in draw¬ 
ing drapery. There are many ways to represent and use overlap. Let's analyze and expand on it a bit. 

1. This is plain overlap. Notice how it créâtes a sense of space, whereas two circles (or objects) beside 
each other croate a tangent and resuit in a two dimensionol flatness. 


2. Here is overlap plus diminished size creating a greater illusion of space. 


Here's overlap with diminished size and surface. 


Walt Stanchfield 283 

And here is overlap with surface lines. 

3. This is overlap with a bridge, or intermediate structure, separating the circles — which is my very 
own secret variation. 


Now for some examples of overlap done in the Gesture Class. Here's a student's work that practices 



The head tangents with the back, the forearm with the far arm, the shirtsieeve opening with the 
belly. In my correction sketch you can see how overlap has disentangled ail those areas and créâtes a 
flesh and blood actor. 

284 Drawn to Life 

Whenever I draw shoulders or bips, I am conscious of overlap with the connecting structure. For 
instance, in the preceding drawing it provided me with an underpinning structure on which to attach the 
arms and legs. 

This imaginary device aiso helps in controlling angles. Here are three sketches with the shoulders on 
an angle. In the last one the shoulders are not drawn in but you can feel them, even as I feit them while 

Walt Stanchfield 285 

cognizant of 
fh more solid 

286 Drawn to Life 

One of the big problems in the gesture class, as 1 hâve often mentioned, is the tendency to straighten 
things up. If '^e were asked to imagine a figure, v/e probably, through the help of the brain's left hemi- 
sphere, would conjure up a mon or woman, standing erect, with at head, a chest, two shoulders, etc., 
like a blueprint. 

Unfortunately, v/hile drawing, we unconsciousiy do the same thing, even though the figure might 
be at a 3/4 view. Here is a student's drawing in which this appears to hâve happened. In my correc¬ 
tion sketch I avoided that tendency by concentrating on overlap. You can feel how the parts of the body 
seem to be packed on top of each other like clay. And you can feel how that invisible device stabilizes 
the upper body, both structure-wise and angle-wise. 

Okay kids, I really must turn it off — I can't write a book! And 1 haven't gotten to the other rules yet— 
maybe another time, eh? Anyway, until then, l hâve gathered a few drawings by Frederick E. Banbery that 
hâve most of those rules sprinkled throughout. Look for them — surface, diminishing size, overlap, surface 
lines, and foreshortening. Notice especially, as you spot them, how they actually become the drawings; 
how they make the drawings corne to life; how they are the means by which the figures dwell in space. 

Walt Stanchfield 287 

288 Drawn to Life 

In Further Fraise of the Ruies of 

-Q Q- Q-^ 

st/RfAtre^ Ç(2c^ ^ürfacê' Pt*ô 

^ s.ze 

44 ^ 

OMeRLA.Ç SORff^uP^^ fbeeSHodTPAiltJ^- 

In the last handout (Chapter 59) I began a treatise on the ruies of perspective os formuloted by 
Bruce Mcintyre who, incidentolly, is a former Disney Studios artist. I hod to stop ofter discussing only the 
ruie, Overlap, and even thot one wos borely touched on. 

I am moking a big deol out of this overlap thing, am I not? Well, that is because I believe, though 
the other ruies of perspective hâve their own individuel applications, they can be thought of as just 
variations of Overlap. For instance, Surface, Diminishing Size, and Surface Plus Size are really Overlap 
with space between. For instance, if you lined up Overlap with Diminishing Size, like the traditional télé¬ 
phoné pôles, to illustrate how the vanishing point works, you would hâve a kindred diagram, but one 
with more of a feeling of volume — not only in the objects themselves, but aiso a feeling of third dimen- 
sional space between the objects. 

The Surface Lines ruIe can be applied to the Overlap motif to give both direction to the object and 
aIso create the illusion of depth. 

After ail, perspective is just a means of creating the illusion of third dimensional space in our draw- 
ings and paintings. Oh, I tell you, if there was ever an élixir for drawing third dimensionally — it is 



Walt Stanchfield 289 

I would like to add a few very potent uses for Overlap. One is the obvious need for Overlap when 
drawing a foreshortened figure. If you can think of the figure as a few simple masses — head, chest, 
hips, plus arms and legs — you can lay those shapes down in whatever view you are interested in and 
that will give you a good foundation for your drawing. 

When drawing from a model, there is an irrésistible tendency to copy the line that you see before 
you rather thon build the figure with some integrity of structure, it reminds me of a time during World 
War II when I was between studio jobs (and the Navy). I tried to get a job drawing airplane parts 
assembly for people who couidnt read a blueprint. For my application, I drew in great photographie 
realism, different views of a pencil sharpener, and the engine of my car. I copied ail the wires, spark 
plugs, and various parts — but I did not know diddiy-poo about how the engine worked. 

The purpose of drawing from a model is different in that we're trying to learn how the gesture (and 
clothing) works, so we can draw it at will and from any viewpoint. 

Here is a student's attempt at a difficult foreshortened angle. The naturel approach for the uniniti- 
ated is to look for lines on the model to transfer to the paper. But ail too often the model's lines do not 
reveal very much of what is really happening, so the artist is lost, much like looking for some wispy cir¬ 
rus clouds in a hurricane. 

As you can see, the student jotted down some recognizable areas, but there is no underlying 

290 Drown to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 291 

Disney artists need to be versed in animal anatomy as well. Here is a study from Bambi of a deer 
overcoming an obstacle and the impact of its movement. 

*• >>••« im*. ««.«7 

not. ]• Mwait aj kiM 

Drapery, we will ail agree, is one of the most difficult things to draw. Thinking Overlap will not make 
it easy, but will help in forming wrinkles and will help move them around in animation. Think of wrinkles 
as shapes in space, overlapping and being overlapped by, other shapes. Here are some simple overlap- 
ping forms of drapery — cloth overlapping cloth. 

292 Drawn (o Life 

I contend that Overlap will help you in animation, too. Analyze these three drawings by Ollie 
Johnston — let your eyes wander from drawing to drawing and notice how those Basic shapes (head, 
chest, hip, and legs) animate from position to position to reveal the action — but aiways maintaining 
an overlapping rôle. Follow the left leg as it overlaps the rear end to being overlapped by the rear end. 
Follow ail the parts, observing how Overlap plays its rôle in clarifying the animation. 

Overlap is important in drawing heads, too. The features are ail stacked on at different depths — 
one in front of another. You should feel this "stacking" even in a front-on position or a profile. Here is a 
student's drawing of a head. Ail the parts seem to be on one plane. Fie also gave in to the proneness 
to straighten things up, making a profile out of a 3/4 back view. In my correction sketch I tried to show 
how the forehead overlapped the eyes and nose; the eyes overlapped the nose and upper lip. The ear 
was drawn with the thought in mind that it overlapped the side of the head, thus effecting the illusion 
that it is the nearest thing to us. 

Walt Stanchfield 293 

Remember, anytime an object is doser fo you than another, it is going to overlap that farther object. 
It is going to be on "this" side of it — whether it is seporated by négative space or not. 

Everything exists in space, which means that everything, even different parts of one thing, is doser 
or farther from you than another. Thus the illusion is created that the dosest thing is larger. Many mod¬ 
em artists go to great lengths to destroy that illusion. They prodaim that since they are working on a 
two-dimensional surface, any suggestion of three dimensions is an abomination. But needless to say, 
Disney Studios has pursued the goal of creating the illusion of realism, which requires a vehicle that rep- 
licates the audience's personal expérience of space. That makes it easier to win over the audience to its 

Of course, along with ail the physical principles that the artist has to wrestle with is the motivation 
and inner driving forces that impel the characters to perform each gesture. The only créative way to 
express these actions is for the artist to feel within him or herself the kinesthetic empathy for the motiva¬ 
tion and the execution of the move. That is why I repeat so often that copying from the model, line for 
line, is an unreliable procedure. 

Hey, my friends, I realize you know ail this stuff, The reason I keep reiterating it is so that eventu- 
ally these things will pop into (or out of) your minds effortiessly and will eventually become natural 
and unstudied — spontaneous. Try thinking Overlap on the next few drawings you make and I think 
you'Il be pleasantly rewarded. I guarantee it'Il see you through many a tough drawing problem. It's 
not a prop — it is basic three-dimensional structure. In geology, the rock that houses gems and miner¬ 
ais is called matrix. Well, space is the matrix that houses people and things. Remember we are not 
fiat cutouts placed in this third dimensional matrix — it continues right through us as if we were... 
well, transparent. 

Here are some interesting sketches by Terri Martin. They're interesting because they were drawn 
with the left hand. It's a good exercise because you can't be bothered with details — hard enough to 
get the main theme. Notice how as she sketched she seemed to concentrate on getting the main shapes 
to take their place in space. Notice, too how Overlap of the main shapes seems to be the dominant 
means to capture the essence of the poses. 

294 Drawn to Life 


There Is No End to Thinking Overlap 

In the last two handouts I hâve dealt with Overlap, 


v/hich I hâve stretched to mean onything that is doser to you thon ony other thing. I hâve stretched the 
Word to mean that the dosest thing doesn't necessarily hâve to touch or obscure the farthest. Think of it 
in the same sense that two lives can "overlap" each other. They lead separate lives, but at some junction 

Wall Stanchfield 295 

they hâve something to do with each other. Well, everything in your drawing has something to do with 
everything eise — so think of them os "overlopping." Therefore even Q O is Over/op! I tolked about 
people and things in a matrix of space, so when you draw two separate things the space between them 
becomes a part of the composition or the drawing. You can't actually draw space, but it has to be there; 
otherwise those éléments can't relate to each other. 

When the characters, props, and space ail work together to put over the story it forms what I like to 
call the "stage" of the drawing. It's just another way of saying staging. When the stage is set properly, 
the story is instantly readable. 

Mike Swofford did these two nice sketches of two models posing together. The forms are intertwined 
and, in the case of the second drawing, quite complicated, but the third dimensional négative space that 
forms the stage is kept relatively clear so that the models' and your attention goes directiy to the center 
of interest. Notice, too, how ail the éléments in the drawings either help to frame the center of interest or 
point to it. 

Here is another excellent drawing. The female figure complicates the staging by covering up part of 
the male figure, but it is still quite clear because the overlapping figure forms a nice three-dimensional 
stage between the characters. The resulting focus on the subject matter is quite electrifying. As a matter 
of fact, knowing how hard it is to put over a story point so clearly, it ought to take your breath away. 
There is a lot of energy bouncing around in that négative space. 

296 Drown to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 297 

Those drawings are successfui because the éléments are assembled in such a way that your atten¬ 
tion is, in a sense, corralled. It's kind of like being drawn into the plot of a movie, play, or novel, not 
against your will — but in spite of it. There is no beating around the bush — the drawings corne right to 
the point! As David Lambuth says in his book, The Golden Book on Writing, "If you hâve a nail to hit, 
hit it on the head." 

Animais, more thon humons, are subject to Overlap. The reason is the main forms — head, chest 
and bips — are horizontal and line up in diminishing size formation with a more obvious overlapping of 
the forms. 

In Drawing: A Search for Form by Joseph Mugnaini, there is an interesting analysis of five animais, 
showing how those main body forms, the head, chest, and bips, are linked structurally. These are down- 
shots, or vertical views of things that ordinarily would be drawn horizontally. Knowing the spacing of 
these forms should make overlapping them easier. 

A Bifd 

B Cat 

C Hofse 

D Fish 

The bird is a shape of flight. The fused body cavity and the pelvis and thorax are close to one 
another. For flight, the forward appendages become wings. The entire head, neck, and beak, along 
with its other functions, is analogous to our arm. It is a tool and a weapon. It must hâve length. it must be 

The cat is a springing animal, explosive; sudden in movement. Its neck can be short because its spi¬ 
nal column is the essence of flexibility; the pelvis and thorax are separated. 

The horse is a stiff-legged animal designed for long distance travel. Its body cavity is rigid. The tho¬ 
rax and pelvis are spaced a bit doser than those of the cat, not quite so close as those of the bird. 

298 Drawn fo Life 

Because the fish is supportée! by wafer, it needs no legs. The body rings, as indicated on the chart, 
are forward. It needs no pelvis to support the legs, no thorax to support the arms. The spinal column 
itself has become a lever for locomotion. 

The frog is a flat-bellied, leaping animal. The character of its body is disc-like with built-in shock 
absorbers. The vertebrae are practically deleted; the body is therefore mode rigid. It needs no long 
neck; its arms and legs are all-purpose appendages. 

An illustration in the book, unrelated to the animal's structure chart, shows a breakdown of the over- 
lapping shapes of a cat. 

"Cat" byjoy Hankins. Colored wash drawing. 

Notice the impression of volume based upon the principles referred to in the vertical view analysis 
presented earlier. 

Here one circle is placed behind another and partially concealed by it. Solidity and space are sug- 
gested. The circles hâve become opaque and disk-like. 

In the following examples, Mugnaini carries his line of thinking a bit further, but fails to refer to it as 
Overlap, that word that suggest a bag full of possibilities. Like, when I read or hear that word, I think of 

Walt Stanchfield 299 

objects assembled in space — objects necessary to the story, that are consciousiy gathered and piled 
on, one on top of the other — like a three-dimensionol disploy on o two-dimensionol surface. 

By reducing the size of one of the circles, the illusion of spoce is increosed; the flotness of the recton- 
gulor picture plane hos been penetroted. 

The circles are turned into spheres by the simple device of odding stripes, which are spaced doser 
together as they approach the edges. Now the eye is carried completely around the objects, and one is 
aware not only of their solidity, but aiso of the space befween the spheres and the other side of each sphere. 

You might think of it like this — a sculpter sees his subject in a block of stone and chips away the 
négative space to reveal it. The artist sees his subject on a blank sheet of paper and with pen or pencil 
delineates both positive and négative space. Not a chipping away, but a piling on of both positive and 
négative, thus creating the illusion of space. 

Let's leave Overlap for a change, and for old time's sake, do a few critiques. Drawing from a 
model is not easy, especially gesture drawing. It's not so much what you see as what you feel — and 
here cornes that word kinesthesia again. It means "The sensation of position, movement, tension, etc. 
of parts of the body, perceived through nerves and organs in muscles, tendons, and joints." (Webster's 

It's what divers feel when they huri themselves into space from a high platform — every twist and 
angle must be felt to the nth degree. It's what a rodeo rider has to feel when he's being jerked, twisted, 
and bumped by an unhappy bronco. Hundreds of instant readings and adjustments hâve to be mode, 
not only of his own body, but those of the horse also. And it's what artists hâve to feel when they draw 
a gesture. Kinesthetic readings^iare mode within their own bodies to get a feeling for the action. It's a 
major maneuver, switching from looking to feeling. 

Here is a student's sketch, and though basically well done, it lacks a certain kinesthetic involvement. 
Actually, the student's drawing cornes close to the lines suggested by the model, but the feeling, the zing, 
is missing. In my correction suggestion, I simplified the pose and drew how it felt kinesthetically to me. 

Here is anofher student's drawing that certainly did not go through the kinesthetic channels for its 
inspiration. And contrary to the mood of the pose, the figure wos stroightened up, when actually it 
should be leoning bock in a relaxed monner. It appears that the artist was concentrating more on anat- 
omy and shoulder straps than on feeling. 

Here's another case where conjuring up a kinesthetic feeling might hâve solved the student's prob- 
lem. Anytime a person lifts something out in front of themselves, out goes the belly! Whether it's a 50-lb 
weight, or a feather, out goes the belly. Stand up and try it. Then try it in the mind while seated. It may 
take a little mental effort, but, and l'm not making this up, the ability to do it mentally will make you a 
rich and famous animator. Well, at least it'Il make drawing more fun. 

Walt Stanchfisld 301 

Oh, and of course a cartoonist would push the belly out a bit farther. 

The moral to that critique is "Don't let the model's rendition of the pose dominate your drawing. Put 
your kinesthesia to work. Feel the pose inside your own body and let that be your interprétation. And, if 
you can think of it, toss in a little caricature to spark up the drawing, and intensify its entertainment value." 

Akin to that lifting action is a carrying action. To show the action of carrying — the sensation of 
carefully and thoughtfully balancing something (in this case a bed roll) on one's shoulder — one needs 
to lean forward slightiy. You know that when carrying something, no matter how heavy your load, it 
would not feel as stable if you were standing erect. 

302 Drawn to Life 

Don't misunderstand me — 1 am no action analysis expert, but I figure if I can back up my draw- 
ings with some words that convincingly explain the action — I am in safe territory. Words are important 
tools; the story-people carefully choose words thot express the action, émotion, or situation they are 
trying to describe. When those words are translated into drawings, they become the basis for reach- 
ing the audience. So if you can say in words the action or gesture you are attempting to drow, they will 
urge you on in the right direction. Usually the words are verbs such as reach, bend, run, lift, turn, sneer, 
laugh, etc. If you find yourself just copying lines from the model without attaching some verbs to your 
modus operandi, you could very likely drift off your course — if not completely astray. 

Here are a few afterthoughts. 

Walt Stanchfield 303 

Space Is Created 

My wife, Dee, who proofreads my writings, was bothered by my saying in the last handout (Chapter 
62), "...this is overlap." 


I concur that two separate marks on a page are not overlap, but l'm talking about something eise. l'm 
talking about tv/o objects, or parts of a figure in a drawing, that relate to each other and are embedded in 
this three dimensional matrix we call space. That space, though not actually drawn, is as real as the objects 
themselves. Thus an object 


overlaps the space beyond it, 

which in turn overlaps any object beyond it. 



In landscape painting it's called aerial perspective and is painted as atmosphère. In line draw'ing it is 
dealt with by the ruies of perspective, by making the far objects simpler and drawing them in a different 
scale; that is, drawing the farther object both smaller and of a finer line. 

Besides, this 


is not necessarily overlap — it could be two shapes like these. 


brought together. (l'm kidding.) 

Sometime ago in the Gesture Class I had the model hold a cardboard box out in front of his body. 
We drew it. Then I had the model drop the box and hold that box-shaped space. You could feel a den- 
sity to that négative space. It became the center of interest, and when it was drawn well, it had real 
character; it had shape, volume, weight, and little mystery. The box, a "real" object that involved over¬ 
lap was gone, but in its place was "real" third dimensional space — that still involved overlap — over¬ 
lap of positive objects and négative space. 

As for space being a real thing, check out this guy manipulating space. 

304 Drawn fo Life 

Compacting it. Expanding it. 

It rises. 

He pusbes it to the floor. 

It's heavy. 

Wolf Stanchfield 305 

it is light. 

Of course you'Il never be called upon to illustrate anything like that, but that very same négative 
space is going to be présent in every drawing you'Il ever make. It'Il be there as space between one part 
of the body and another, and it'Il be pulling or pushing, compacting or expanding, weaving in and out 
and around things, aiways expressing some kind of tension, creating a relationship between objects, 
and taking a tremendousiy important part in the staging. I am not talking about air. You don't hâve to 
create air — it is aiready there. But you do croate space. 

I remember when I was singing in operettas; the stage director would suggest positions for the actors 
to Work in. A bird's-eye view would look something like this. 

The participants would be placed at various distances from each other, creating a definite emo- 
tional and spatial relationship. Any tension created by the space between dépends on the story and 
the characters. For instance, two enemies standing nose to nose would create quite a bit of hostile- 
like tension, while two lovers, nose to nose, would, well, create an unmistakably different kind of 

Here are several simple drawings that illustrate tension created by négative space. The first is a 
good example of a psychological use of space. In it you feel the parasol (humorousiy) buoying the fig¬ 
ure up, while the bent rope presses down on space in weighty contrast. Notice the space between the 
model's right elbow and her left hand. They form a stage of space through which her look can travel 
unimpeded into the space that she is trying to keep from falling into. 

306 Drawn fo Life 


There is moving space, too. Through a thoughtfui handling of the positive shapes, the négative 
shapes will help create a feeling of something happening, something just happened, or the anticipa¬ 
tion of something about to happen. The use of angles in your figures can create a sense of space 
being pulled apart or pushed together. It's a psychological thing. When we see this, we think of 
the hand of a dock moving, or two téléphoné pôles — one of them leaning precariousiy. This one 
reminds us of the "domino" effect — one thing about to knock another over. But nothing has really 
happened yet, so you feel the space is changing, and a tension is created. Notice in this sketch, 
space was staged so you feel the bail and the arms moving toward each other, and vice versa in the 
adjusted sketch. 

1 / 


Walt Stanchfield 307 

308 Drawn fo Life 

In this sketch of two friends meeting and greeting, you see the front of one and the back of the other, 
but you feel the space between the two. 

Okay, one more. Here the space between the bodies has been virtually eliminated, but you feel it 
nevertheless. There is electricity, pressure, and psychological warmth there. 

Walt Stanchfield 309 

Hâve I gone too far with this? I would like to think not. I think artists hâve to hone their sensitivity to 
such things to create ail the spécial émotions they are called upon to illustrate. Some of us are endowed 
with that kind of perception naturally — it flows forth unconsciousiy — while others of us hâve to learn it 

I posed for the gesture class in August and, boy, were there some nice drawings mode. The class 
must hâve relaxed not having me hover over them with my nitpicking pen at the ready. Here is a partial 
gallery of them for your viewing pleasure. 

Drawings by Christine Beck 

310 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 311 

312 Drown to Life 

Walt Slanchfield 313 

314 Drawn (o Life 

Words and Expérience 

These "handouts" hâve covered a multitude of rules and concepts that I trust hâve helped in some way. 
A recent one was about verbalizing the action or gesture you are attempting to draw, so as you repeat 
the words that electrifying "first impression" will be kept olive while you are drawing. That 1,000-volt 
first impression, which we so desperately want to record, is apt to start dwindling as soon as we get 
involved in drawing. Our minds get engrossed in the anatomy or the clothing. Some of us get intrigued 
by the facial features and spend several minutes on that even, heaven forbid, before we sketch in the 
overall gesture. 

Even the model loses that first impression. When they strike a pose it is fresh and vivid in their minds 
and kinesthetic feelings, but after a few minutes, that initial flash of feeling beings to fade, and they 
begin to wonder if there're any guts at ail in their pose. 

So I suggested forming a word or phrase that describes the gesture as you see it, one you can hold 
on to — something that will constantly conduct you back to that intense first impression. Whatever you 
do, resorting to a "cookie cutter" copy of the model is a less thon désirable compromise. After ail, if the 
artist doesn't feel strongly about the gesture, then he can't expect the viewer to feel anything. 

Michelangelo spoke of "...the hand that obeys the intellect," which implies the drawing cornes not 
from the pen or the hand, but from the reasoning faculty. Reasoning and feeling join forces in the draw¬ 
ing process. 

Anyway, to get back to verbalizing the gesture, we ail know that no deep feeling can be adequately 
expressed in words, but if verbalizing, such as it is, helps even a little, it becomes a blessing. Artists 
don't use words to express the deepest of feelings, they use lines. Like words, lines can't adequately 
describe the deep feelings that we expérience, but a sériés of well-selected lines can "verbalize" the 
idea in a very convincing way. The resuit is a drawing that communicates and entertains. 

Lines and drawings are tools that we learn early in life — tools that are easily lost or forgotten if 
not used often. We use these "tools" to try to give expression to our expérience and feelings as human 
beings. Yes the lines and drawings we use to express these feelings can be used to draw facts: A trash 
can in an alley, an airplane on a runway, a dog catching a Frisbee. These are ail facts of life and can 
be captured like a photograph. 

The real méat of drawing cornes when we use line to capture not facts, but feelings. Just as a poet 
might struggle with a list of words to try to express deep feelings of love, joy, or sadness, so as artists 
we too must try to use our toolbox of line and shape to express deep human émotions that are more 
than just the facts of life. 

A line is a way to express meaning, the meaning of our expérience in a humble way on a piece of 
paper. The meaning of life the way we each see it, each one of us as individual observers of the uni- 
verse. Line and shape seem pretty inadéquate when we describe drawing this way. There is no amount 
of lines that can express how we feel about a sunset, or a romantic dinner. But as inadéquate as line 
and shape are, they are as fundamental as the word in expressing our human expérience. And line and 
shape is more ancient than the word as an effective tool to communicate. 

Walt Stanchfield 315 

It's our job as the interpréter of expérience to not only take in the expérience, but to become con- 
scious of it, to know it and to trust our interprétation of it. When we draw a gesture, do we trust or dis¬ 
trust the character, is he or she real or artificial, vague or confident? 

The novelist H. E. Bâtes has a habit of writing down quick biographies of people that he met who 
struck his imagination. The biographies were complété fantasy, or so he thought. The more he learned 
about the people in his biographies, the more he realized that his fictional accounts of these people 
were actually very close to fact in almost every case. There was an essence of the person that came 
through as a glance, a laugh, or a few words of dialogue that communicated a truth about that person. 

Cari Jung, the great psychologist, describes a similar phenomenon. In a session with a person whom 
he had never met before, Jung was trying to make a point by creating a fictional character and situation 
to communicate his thoughts. His patient was shocked because Jung's story was uncomfortably close to 
the truth. This intuitive sense we hâve about people is a voice that we often dismiss. But these unspoken 
perceptions are quite often the essence of the character and our imagined biographies of people we 
hardiy know, can be very close to the point. 

What we search for in line and shape and gesture, is to uniock the key to the essence of our sub- 
ject. The crush of information and fact about the subject is not aiways as interesting or necessary as is 
the subtie truth about a character. If we were writers, a few well-chosen lines about a character conveys 
more thon an entire novel. It's these few chosen lines that we search for as artists. 

There is an inaudible music that flows between humans. It is this fleeting music that we are trying to 
capture...not accuracy, not fact, not literal représentation. We can get ail of those things from photogra- 
phy. With our art we are looking for the inaudible music that emanates from our subject, and if we are 
lucky, we can capture the essence of that music with pen on paper. That's the lifelong pursuit of the artist. 

The accompanying sketches are not meant to illustrate the text, but are just there to enhance the look 
of the page and to suggest that most people use words to express things — while artists use lines to 
express the very same things, and the end resuit is communication and entertainment. 

316 Drown to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 317 

318 Drawn to Life 

Actually, there is poetry in these drawings — can you feel it? The viewer in her own imagination will 
expérience the humanness, aliveness, and the distinctness of character in the drawings. In their minds, 
they fill in where the artist has only suggested. That is real gesture drawing. And, yes, it's a form of 

Let's face it! When you chose to be an artist, you unieashed a gnawing and dreadfui hunger to 
express yourself... nofhing less will satisfy. The passion to bring real meaning to your audience, with ail 
its extra levels of suggestion and émotion and humor, makes it necessary to keep growing as a "poet" 
in line. Thus the importance of studying gesture. (Plug!) 

Here are a couple of student's drawings with my suggestions. Ted Hughes spoke of the "crowiness 
in the crow's flight," and that is what I try to bring out in the Gesture Class — the "humanness" of the 
human's gestures. For instance, in this first example the model becomes a gardener, in this pose he 
was raking leaves. To get that humanness in my sketch I mentally went through the process of raking. 

1 leaned forward as I extended the rake out to reach as many leaves as possible, then pulled the rake 
toward me, having to straighten up (even lean bock a little). The hands, because they are in a pulling 
action, are in advance of the rake (and leaves). His left foot is moved out of the way to avoid covering 
it with leaves. There is even a "stage" of compressed space created between the rake and the right foot. 
After ail, this is the story, the center of interest, and it has to be in the clear. The pulling action swung his 
right arm around adding a twist to his body, aiso opened up the "stage" of third dimensional space in 
front of his body. It aIso alleviated the static lineup and even spacing of the feet and rake. 

Walt Stanchfield 319 

Of course, there are other ways to rake leaves. You needn't rake leaves my way. But in drawing, 
each move has to be designed to carry out a purpose, one thot is done efficiently — uniess of course it's 
meont to be humorous, then inefficiency would be the ruie. 

In this next example, the model held a hoe behind his neck os be rested from his weeding chores. 
Since the hondle was behind his neck, it forced the heod forword and the belly out. His weight was on his 
left leg which forced the left hip to be higher thon the right hip. AIso the left shoulder was lowered for bal¬ 
ance. This is typical hip/shoulder body English for humons, so it brings out the humanness of the gesture. 

320 Drawn to Life 

We hâve the honor and the privilège fo pass on what we see and feel to others who, by the way, need 
our expertise in interpreting the myriad bits of human drama and comedy. Thus the importance of study- 
ing gesture. Imagine that your viewers are cupping their ears to hear what you hâve to say, are squinting 
to see what you hâve to draw, and they are willing to go half way to make sense of the gesture you hâve 
presented to them. But, hey! Why not let them relax and only hâve to corne 1 /8 or 1 /16 of the way? 

So, study acting, gesture, human nature, kinesthetics, anatomy, mime, caricature, perspective, and 
words. The easy way is to... just do it! 

Walf Stanchfield 321 

Look, This Is What I Saw 

Again, sorry if I gel too wordy in presenting some of my ideas. A good drawing is summed up in the mind 
in a flash, but to explain how to arrive at that kind of visual statement takes, sometimes, many words. 

Take for instance this sketch of Vicky Jo, as she powders her nose. The student's sketch is rather 
static as if the girl was doing it for the first time. In my sketch i first opened up the "stage" so you see 
both shoulders and consequently some third dimensional négative space. I angled her right forearm to 
appear to move toward the nose, intensifying the activity in that area — the thing she is concerned with. 
The image in the mirror, though, is the center of interest. Notice in the student's drawing the spacing is 
even and static between the face, hand, and mirror. 


Whereas, mine is spaced to suggest movement. 

l\ I 

(In a former handout, 1 talked about how the spacing of objects can cause an accélération or décél¬ 
ération of movement.) 

In this drawing the attention is whisked out to the mirror, where her attention, and ours, is directed. 
Just powdering the nose is a rather mundane pursuit, but with a little imagination it can be mode to be 
quite a charming or even whimsical action. A little staging, some angles, some spacing or patterning, and 
some kinesthetic participation and you are sure to corne up with an entertaining drawing. Oh, and also 
I raised the right hand and lowered the left to avoid the rigid straight line-up of the éléments. It créâtes a 
kind of tunnel for the look to travel through. 

This student's drawing needs to find its place in space. It is partiy due to the tendency to (here we go 
again) straighten things up. The right arm and leg are presented to us in profile, flattening the drawing 
out, destroying any feeling of third dimension. In my sketch I simpiy lined everything up perspective-wise 
(3/4 view), which introduced the third dimensional stage I so often speak of. 

322 Drawn to Life 

In this next pose, the model was stretched forward as if looking at something off stage, which 
becomes the center of interest. The student's version, though a foirly nice drawing, could hâve used 
sonne stronger storytelling action. In my sketch I leaned the figure forward more, and pointed the hat 
shape in that direction. It created a nice angle between the hat brim and the left shoulder. Can you feel 
it sort of leap out in the direction of the look? That négative space created by the hat and shoulder, the 
angle of the left arm, and the stretched back (remember squash and stretch?) with the belt being pulled 
forward on the right side, ail work together to thrust the attention to the unseen center of interest. 

Has this guy got a headache or has his TV gone dead? Whatever, a sense of dramatics would help. 
Again, feeling the pose kinesthetically should hâve led to a simple squash and stretch configuration. 
Notice how in my sketch I used a straight line for the stretch and a squiggly line for the squash. If there 
is no distinction between the front and back of this pose, there can be no action. This should explain 
squash and stretch for ail time and forevermore. 

Wall Stanchfield 323 

Even a still drawing can show action if verbs and not nouns are used. If you draw the parts of the 
body as nouns, you are drawing an arm, a torso, a leg, etc. But if you draw verbs, you are drawing 
an arm, stretching a torso twisting, or a leg bending. I suggested that if you can't express the part as a 
verb — don't draw it. It's a very exciting concept. When making a drawing for your audience, if it is full 
of nouns, it will be merely a présentation of the physical things présent. But if turned into verbs there will 
be action, motive, story, human! It will, in the words of the great author. Maya Angelou, 
bring, "...truth beyond facts." Or in the words of that aged guru Walt Stanchfield, "It's like a basketball 
player who doesn't hâve to closely inspect the backboard construction or the weave of the net — ail he 
has to do is aim for the hoop." 

Here is that same pose from a different angle, but plagued by the same problem. If the student had 
formed even just one verb to describe the pose, it, beyond a doubt, would hâve been "stretch" (with its 
constant companion "squash"). And the mere thought of the Word (the verb) suggests ail the physical 
manipulations it takes to express it. This brings us back to my theory that if you can "verb-a-lize" the 
action, it will help you to draw it. 

324 Drawn to Life 

You've no doubt heard the old adage about not seeing the forest for the trees. Well, applied to 
drawing, that means not seeing the gesture for the parts. If your goal is drawing the forest, you hâve to 
start with it. If you get the shape of the forest — then you can work on the trees. 

Walt Slanchfield 325 

One day in class 1 read a passage from the The Joy of Watercolor, by David Millard, wherein, 
speaking of a painting, said "1 call it, 'A Stray Fisherman Soon Attracts FHis Customers At The 
Waterfront.' Try to give ail your sketches Htles from here on. It's easy to program into your thinking as 
you plan a painting (drawing)...ibefore you start it. It will help you to point it. It will aiso give you a feel- 
ing of caring about your subject in a way that is different from just sitting down to whack out another 
landscape (gesture drawing)." 

It's important to consider your drawing worthy of a title or a mini-story to identify the action in 
your mind so you will hâve a goal — a good reason for drawing it — something to tell your audience. 
"Look," you are saying, "This is what I saw. This is how the model stretched her neck, how her hoir hung 
down, how she twisted her body in a delightfully seductive attitude. I want to share this expérience with 
you, my unseen audience. You may never hâve an opportunity to live through so wonderfui an adven- 
ture as this — let me sketch it for you." 

Here are three of the hundreds of excellent sketches mode in the Gesture Class. i'm usually so intent 
on saving the critiques, I often pass over the faultiess drawings. These seem to hâve been done in the 
spirit of "Look, this is what I saw and I want you, my audience, to expérience it, too." 

Drawing by Rusty Stoll 

326 Drawn to Life 

We sometimes tend to get stale after doing the same thing, the same old way, time and time again. 
That's what vacations are for — to break away and do something different. In the Gesture Class 
recently, I suggested the students "break away" for a couple of hours and expérience a refreshening in 
this drawing venture. 

With ail due respect to Steve Huston, the Anatomy Instructor, I encouraged the artists to forget anat- 
omy for the time being, and to use the broad side of a broad pen, drawing as if they were having a 
seizure — going for a style of drawing that was foreign to them. Halfway through class we switched to 

Wall Stanchfield 327 

a fine poinf pen, drawing as freely and delicately as we could. The idea was to get them to draw not a 
photographie copy of the mode/, but to draw their impression of the gesture. 

I attempted to shock them out of their "status quo" habits by telling them how I, who hâve literally 
"broken away," carry on in my studio. I sometimes take a full sheet of watercolor paper and slop handfuls 
of water on it. Then I pour, splatter, or brush point onto it, tilting the paper up and down, side to side and 
throw on sait and drop spray alcohol or turpentine on it. I push, scrape, gouge, and glue other papers 
on. If nothing cornes of it — the next day I might draw into it with a twig, using black or colored ink. I use 
crayons to draw in a subject, then point over it — that is a blast, for the wax in the crayon acts as a resist. 
If the thing bombs, l'Il point on a coat of gesso and start ail over again. Or it may end up as bookmarks or 
in the collage box. 

The wonderfui thing is, l'm learning to venture where I was formerly too timid or hésitant to go. 

I realize you can't go to that extreme in animation — you hâve to conform to the established style. 
Nothing wrong with that. I did it for 45 or 50 years, and enjoyed every minute of it. But some nice 
drawings may be just a slight experiment away from being superb drawings. "Breaking away," even a 
tiny bit, may work wonders for you. 

I aiso gave the students a list of words and ideas to help them sidestep those taskmaster "censors" that 
hover over every drawing saying "Can't you make it a little more photographie?" "That's drawing?" Or, 
"You call yourself an artist?" And aIso to break away from some bad habits of which we are not even aware 
and those tentative, lacking-confidence periods of drawing that seem to be lurking at every drawing session. 
This is a technique I learned recently from my revered painting instructor. Bob Burridge, at the Hancock 
College painting class. Bob has a way of bringing out a little more thon what you think you are capable of 
with his completely forward-looking method of both painting and teaching. His philosophy is if going atyour 
problem head-on is getting you nowhere — make a left turn. Rather than type the Burridge list for you, l'm 
reproducing Nicole Strand's copy of them — it seems to visually epitomize the flavor of the "scheme." 


“B SL 

a (UOuvM Wa.J U'ç ovua U-To c/.o'^-force 
) \^çi/v l'h. 


328 Drawn to Life 

Anyway, the students went along with the experiment and it turned ouf to be ail fun and profit. 
I confiscated several of the drawings to share with you. I get gushy sometimes talking about how great 
the drawings done in the Gesture Class are, so you won't be surprised to hear me say "These are out- 
standing gesture drawings." I am in awe of the talent that I hâve been so privileged to work with. These 
drawings take my breath away. 

Walt Stanchfield 329 

332 Drawn to Life 

Of course, every drawing is not ail "wine and roses." We sometimes forget that we are drawing 
gestures, that is, acfing on paper. Often it appears that we are just trying to get enough lines on the 
paper so we can call it a drawing. This next drawing reminds me of when I sang in the Light Opéra 
group. The director would say "Sing and act to the farthest person in the balcony." This meant not only 
Project the voice but aiso the gesture. The student's drawing on the left, from 200 feet, would appear to 
be standing up straight. It needs a little pizzazz. I especially like how in my sketch the hand on the hip 
is not just eut out and stuck on, but is taking an active part in the pose, seeming to press the hip into that 
exaggerated gesture. 

Here's another pose with a similar hip action, but for a different reason. In this one the hip is placed 
under the weight on the shoulder for stability. But even if this extreme a gesture were not really neces- 
sary, or vital, an actor would do it anyway just to make sure the people in the last row could "read" it, 
and to make his delivery entertaining. After ail, actors (and artists) are entertainers. Even while talking 
to a friend, we don't just stand there at attention while relating our story — we gesticulate, sometimes 
wildiy, especially when we want to be convincing....or entertaining. 

Walt Sfanchfield 333 

In this next drawing the student might hâve benefited by the knowledge and use of the golf term 
"Swinging from the socks." The principle is simple, if an arm is raised, the force is distributed throughout 
the whole body. The arm does not move independently. The farther away from the arm action a part is, 
the less influence the force has on it. 

334 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stonchfield 335 


The Shape of the Gesture II 

Some months ago I did a handout on the Shape of the Gesture, but merely touched on the subject. Let's 
go O little deeper into this fascinating topic. When you look at these three shopes there is instant récog¬ 
nition: triangle, square, and circle. VVith a gesture drawing, the overall shape has to be especially well 
thought out to attain such clarity. 

Take this gesture of Bobby Ruth Mann waving a tambourine, for instance. In this first drawing, the 
student seemed to be searching for the final shape with numerous pen lines, a technique not uncommon 
among Disney Studios artists. It's a good drawing, but it doesn't stamp a definite shape on your retina. 
It lacks a certain finality, one you might expect to see in an animation extreme. Both legs are similarly 
bent, both arms are paralleling each other. 

Maybe if the upper arm was more extended it would lay up the tambourine, whereas now it gets 
tangled up with the hat. Nice drawing, but is the shape enhancing the story? 

. I 

336 Drawn to Life 

In this next drawing by Mike Disa, there is a clearer statement of the story. Notice how each leg 
has been given a different "part" to play, and the tambourine is in the clear. The fact that the drawing 
style is quite different from the prior one matters little — it's the end resuit that counts. However simple or 
detailed an animation drawing is, it must contain ail the necessary information, or should I say just the 
necessary information, for an excess of detail will not plus a bad gesture drawing. 

Walt Stanchfield 337 

It seems that Marc Smith had this drawing well thought out before he applied pen to paper. There is 
an economy of line and each line contributes to the gesture. And the shape of the gesture tells you the 
story clearly; 

In this last version of the same pose, Terri Martin has managed to give us the very essence of the 
gesture in a shape that is free from any divisive éléments. The shape and the gesture are one. It hits you 
\Arith a finality that you experienced with those symbols above, the triangle, square, and circle — except 
in this case, in the form of an entertaining female performer. 

338 Drawn to Life 

340 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 341 

On the following day, model David Roon became a cook for us. I brought a lot of cookery props 
and David's use of them was awesome. I had everyone nome the gesture and write it down on their 
drav/ing paper to remind them that they are not just drav/ing things, but that they are illustrating a 
"story." Also we honed in on shapes — the shapes of the gestures. Since the critic in me must hâve its 
moment, here are some student's drawings with my critiques accompanying them. The first one, though 
a pleasant drawing, got muddied because the shape was not clear. In the student's drawing the cook's 
hands and the pepper mill are hiding his view of the salad. In my sketch I shaped it so the cook's view 
was clear enough for him to see that the pepper was making it to the salad. Basic to the student's prob- 
lem was probably his choice of a title: "leaning over, holding pepper grinder." Perhaps it should hâve 
been "grinding pepper onto salad," which gives him something to perform; that is, a story to act out. 

Next is one of the student's gestures named "What next?" His drawing seems to depict that idea 
quite well, but the shape gets a little mushy. There seems to be an overabundance of curved lines that 
send the attention off in various directions. Also the model had stretched himself to full height, as if to 
get a more overall view of the problem. 

342 Drawn to Life 

Below is another drawing of the same pose. It's called "standing, hands on hips, looking down, lean- 
ing back." That tells what he is doing, but doesn't suggest a story. I shaped my sketch to more cleanly 
direct his attention to the cooking paraphernalia. The title from the previous drawing seems to tell the 
story better: "What next?" In my perhaps overly simplified version, nothing gets in the way of his ques- 
tioning look. The shapes are almost as simple and clear as the triangle, square, and circle. 

Well, so much for nitpicking! Now for a gallery of delightfully light and humorous drawings for your 
viewing pleasure. I had coaxed, begged, harangued, and even insisted that the students lighten up — 
after ail they work for a cartoon studio, don't they? So, they did attempt to inject a little humor into their 
drawing and the results were most gratifying. (In Xeroxing, I lost most of the titles. Sorry.) 

Walt Stanchfield 343 

344 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 345 

A Tri bute 

This handout is in célébration of fhe young artists who hâve been aftending the Gesture Class. It attests 
to their skills and to their détermination to refine their artistry. Each artist has been striving to create 
entertaining drawings that relate an émotion or tell a story, rather thon merely making faithfui représen¬ 
tations of the model. You sense that these drawings are not just reporting facts, but are, like great actors 
on the stage or in film, portraying a character engaged in some exciting adventure story. 

I hâve relinquished my usual yakking and critiquing to make space for a représentative look at the 
drawings done in one such session. As usual, I failed to collect something from everyone. And, the old 
démon space forced me to make some regrettable omissions. 

Incidentally, I even gave up my usual hands-on critiquing to become the model for this session — so 
now add Walt Stanchfield to the model roster. (Just kidding.) 

346 Drawn to Life 

Jane Krupka has a much more délicate approach, but nonetheless captures a good strong gesture. 
Models are Clark Allen and Wanda Nowicki: 

Tom Gately is very versatile and can go from realistic through cutesy to comic. Here, in drawing 
Wanda Nowicki, he chose what I would call animation style cute. I say animation cute because the girls 

Walt Stanchfield 347 

348 Drawn to Life 

Walt Stanchfield 349 




^f*8('iy I 

Walt Stanchfieid 351 

Crédit — Volume II 

Alsaffar, Paris, 348 
Aquino, Ruben, 187-188 
Andrews, Mark, 313 
Bâcher, Hans, 1 8 
Banbery, Frederick E., 287 
Beck, Christine, 309 
Beckstrand, Jared, 339-331 
Bell, Cari, 173 
Berg, Bill, 296 
Biggs, Robert, 272 

Boulos, Dan, 18-19, 27-28, 34, 44, 62-63, 99, 106, 1 15, 248-251 

Bourdages, Rej, 188-189 

Bridgman, George, 82, 92, 290 

Cambiaso, Luca, 58 

Coco, Diana, 331, 339, 346 

Cosio, Jesse, 34 

Disney images provided by the Animation Research Library, © Disney Enterprises, Inc. AH images of 
Mickey Mouse, 3; Merryweather, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Goofy, 4; Mickey Mouse, 5; 83, 89; 
hands by Milt Kahl, 93; Donald Duck, 1 26; 157; 196, 252, 291 

Disney images provided by the Animation Research Library, © Disney Enterprises, Inc. based on the 
"Winnie the Pooh" works, by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard, Christopher Robin, 256 

Davis, James, 34 

Dejas, Andréas, 159-167 

Disc, Mike, 336, 338 

Everts, Geoffrey, 263 

Fischer, Wendie. L., 45 

Foulkes, Laurey, 51 

Fujii, James, 26, 42-43, 59-60, 76, 1 10, 116, 124, 145, 174, 240, 296 
Gabriel, Mike, iii, 205 
Galieote, Danny, 278, 340 

352 Drawn to Life 

Garcia, Raul, 264 

Gately, Tom, 330, 331,343-344, 347 

Glebas, Francis, 124 

Gordon, Steven Pierre, 311 

Gutierrez, Ed, 46, 108 

Haidar, Joe, 61,79 

Hankins, Joy, 298 

Harding, Christine, 172 

Heller, Kris, 49-50 

Hiestand, Grant, 11 8 

Hirschfeld, Al, 1 22 Reproduced by arrangement with Hirschfeld's exclusive représentative, the Margo 
Feiden Galleries LTD., Nev/ York, 

Hokusai, 1 29-121 

Holmquist, Bette, 1 87 

Hurtt, Cris, 349 

Husband, Ron, 13-17, 154-156 

I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song) from Walt Disney's "The Jungle Book", 157 Words and Music 
by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman © 1966 Wonderland Music Company, Inc. Copyright 
Renewed, AH Rights Reserved, Used by Permission. 

Jimenez, Sean Anthony, 329 

Johnston, Lynn, 101 FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE © 1991 Lynn Johnston Productions. Distributed By 
Universal Press Syndicate. Reprinted with permission. Ail rights reserved. 

Johnston, Ollie, 75 ©Illusion of Life; 292 © Disney Enterprises, Inc. 

Kahl, Milt, 93 © Disney Enterprises, Inc. 

Kaufman, Al, 204 

Kausier, Mark, 34, 56, 59, 108, 135-136 

Kaytis, Clay, 331 

Keane, Glen, 82 

Knight, Cheryl Polakow, 1 85 

Krupka, Jane D., 47, 124, 136, 193, 279, 329, 346, 348-349 
Lusher-Stocker, Tamara 243 

MAD Magazine, 93 — MAD #108 © 1967 E.C. Publications, Inc. AH Rights Reserved. Used with 
Permission; 94 — AMD #210 1979 E.C. Publications, Inc. Ail Rights Reserved. Used with Permission. 

Walt Stanchfield 353 

Martin, Terri, 108, 117, 172, 186, 214, 232, 265, 269-270, 275, 280, 293-294, 310, 326, 337 

Martin, Whitney, 348 

Mclntyre, Bruce, 5, 125, 281,288 

Morel, Jean, 271,313 

Moshier, Joe, 339, 343 

Mugnaini, Joseph, 297, 299 

Naughton, Terry 243 

Overman, Cynthia, 1 12 

Palinginis, Gilda, 192-193, 204 

Parker, Brant, 102-104 Created by Johnny Hart — Wizard of Id by permission of John L. Hart FLP and 
Creators Syndicate, Inc. 

Perard, Victor, 81-82, 91 

Perkins, Bill, 34 

Pimentai, Dave, 339-340, 343 
Pigors, Eric, 48-50 
Post, Doug, 330 
Price, Tina, 143, 176, 312 
Procopio, Ruben, 1 80 
Repchuk, Mary-Jean, 75 

Rockwell, Norman, 226 Illustrations by Norman Rockwell from "Rockwell on Rockwell," © Famous 
Artists School, division of Cortina Learning International, Inc. 

Romanillos, Près, 49, 326 

SARK, 213 Reprinted with permission from "How To Be An Artist" by SARK. © 1998 by SARK, Celestial 
Arts, Berkeley, CA, 

Schider, Fritz, 92 

Schuiz, Charles M., 101 Peanuts © United Feature Syndicate, Inc. 

Searle, Ronald, 1 23 Used with the kind permission of the artist and The Sayle Literary Agency; draw- 
ings circa 1960. 

Sharman, Chuck, 33 Sait Chuck on the Rocks 
Strand, Nicole, 327 
Stoll, Rusty, 325 
Surrey, Michael, 41 

Swofford, Mike, 137-139, 175, 194, 295 

354 Drawn to Life 

Thelwell, Norman, 168 © 1981 The Estate of Norman Thelwell. Reproduced by permission of 
Momentum Licensing from Thetwell's Pony Cavalcade (Methuen). 

Thomas, Frank, 75 © Illusion of Life 

Todd, Mable E., 202 The Thinking Body: A Study of the Balancing Forces of Dynamic Man. (New York: 
Paul B. Hoeber, 1937; reprint édition, Hightstown, NJ:Princeton Book Company, Publishers, 1999). 

Van Dyke, Anthony, 58 

Veronese, Paolo, 200 

Vilppu, Glenn V., 4, 5 

Weatherly, Lureline, 60 

Westlund, Ron, 48, 171 

Williams, Linda Verlee, 276 

Woodbury, Ellen, 108 



"Walt was a kind of Mark Twain for us at Disney. He aiways taught with humor and skill. You learned to 
see the world through his eyes. I remember him one day encouraging us to leap into our drawings with 
boidness and confidence, "Don't be afraid to make a mistake. We ail hâve 10,000 bad drawings in us 
so the sooner you get them out the better!" Sitting in Walt's class was as much a psychology course as 
it was a drawing class. One couidn't help walk away with your mind and soûl a little more open thon 
when you entered." 

- Glen Keane, Walt Disney Animation Studios 

"Walt Stanchfield's classes and writings were little distillations of the mon: quirky, strongly stated in 
a génial voice, and brimming with a lifetime of sharp observations about story telling and graphie 
communication. Whether he drew with a bail point pen or painted with a brush dipped in his coffee 
cup, he got to the essence of things and was eager to share what he learned with his eager disciples, 
myself among them. He was grizzled and he was great and proof that there was more thon one Walt 
at the Disney Studios that could inspire a légion of artists." 

- John Musker, Walt Disney Animation Studios 



Published for the first time ever, Drawn to Life 
is a two volume collection of the legendary 
lectures from long-time Disney animator Walt 
Stanchfield. For over twenty years, Walt helped 
breathe life into the new golden âge of anima¬ 
tion with these teachings at the Walt Disney 
Animation Studios and influenced such talented 
artists as Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Glen Keane, 
and John Lasseter. These writings represent the 
quintessential refresher for fine artists and film 
professionals, and it is a vital tutorial for students 
who are now poised to be part of another new 
génération in the art form. 

Written by Walt Stanchfield (1919-2000), who 
began work for the Walt Disney Studios in the 
1950s. His work can be seen in films like Sleep- 
ing Beauty, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, and 
Peter Pan. 

Edited by Academy Award®-nominated producer 
Don Hahn, who has prduced such classic Disney 
films as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. 

Front and bock cover animal drawings by Andréas Déjà 
March Hare drawings by Ward Kimball © Disney Enterprises, Inc. 
Figure construction drawings by Glenn V. Vilpuu 

Focal Press 

An imprint of Elsevier 
w ww.foca 

If you 
enjoyed this 
book please post 
a review to your 
favorite oniine 

$29.95/£ 17.99 

ISBN: 't7a-D-SMD-flllD7-'l